Age Dashi Tofu
Piping hot age dashi has the most indulgent savory texture. A sizzling skin made of arrowroot gives way to the soft tofu center. Top with finely chopped scallions and serve in a shallow bowl of savory-salty-sweet ponzu sauce for a sumptuous delight. I add brown rice flour to the arrowrrot as arrowroot alone can get gooey if not handled well in this recipe. I choose medium to soft tofu for a delectable texture, though firm tofu is easier to handle.
Yields: 2-4 servings
1 block tofu
3 tablespoons brown rice flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot
½ cup sesame oil
2 green onions, cleaned and finely chopped
finely grated daikon radish
1-1/2 tablespoons shoyu
1 tablespoon umeboshi plum vinegar
2 teaspoons agave nectar or maple syrup
1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar or mirin
Drain the water from the tofu.
Set the block of tofu on a plate and place another plate on top. Place a weight (like jar with water or a bowl with some fruit) on top of the plate to press and squeeze excess water from the tofu for 10-20 minutes.
Pat tofu dry with a clean towel.
Cut into 1-1/2-inch squares. You should get between 9 and 12 squares, depending on the size of the block.
At this point, make the ponzu sauce. Mix together the shoyu, umeboshi plum vinegar, agave or maple and brown rice vinegar or mirin. Pour into a shallow bowl that can accommodate the tofu when it is done. Chop green onions so they are ready to go when the dish is ready and can be served hot.
Then, mix together the brown rice flour and arrowroot in a shallow bowl.
Heat the sesame oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat.
Bread the tofu squares in the brown rice flour-arrowroot mixture. I like to place a tofu square in the mixture and sprinkle some on top, then turn to another side, sprinkle, turn, sprinkle, and so forth until well coated.
Place in hot oil. Cook each side just until light-golden-brown. Using tongs to turn to the opposing side first and cook, then the other sides.
When you get your chops up, it is best to bread one piece and pop it in the oil. Bread another piece and pop it in, and so forth. By the time they are all in, it is just about time to turn the first piece over.
Brown each side lightly and remove from oil and into the dish with the ponzu sauce.
Top with a small mound of finely grated daikon radish, sprinkle with chopped green onion and serve immediately.
Any extra ponzu sauce can be stored in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to a week. The tofu is best eaten as leftovers do not store well.