Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tofu (2) - various types

The second part of our tofu post. Here is the first installmentWe look at some tofu products made by, for example, deep frying tofu.

When tofu is deep-fried in oil, another variety is created, which comes in four forms (this type is of course never kept under water, but just in the refrigerator; will keep fresh there for one week):
  1. Atsu-age. Thick-sliced (2.5 cm) tofu broiled briefly in hot oil. The inside remains soft and white, while the outside is golden brown. Another name for this type of tofu is nama-age. Difference with aburage: aburage is thinner and fried through. Can be eaten as such in izakaya etc. with flavoring of soy sauce and ginger, used in oden, miso soup, etc. Pour hot water over the cake and lightly press in paper towels before using it to remove excess oil.
  2. Aburage. Deep-fried, thinly sliced tofu. An ingredient of udon dishes called kitsune (fox) udon, because legend tells that foxes are fond of deep fried tofu!  In small stripes, an ingredient of miso soup, and soups of mizuna, komatsuna etc. Also an ingredient in stir fries. Can also be sliced open and used as a wrapper ("tofu pouch") and filled with vinegared rice to make inarizushi - inari is a name for the fox deity. Also here, remove excess oil before using it.
  3. Agedashi-dofu. Deep-fried tofu breaded with potato starch. Eaten with a sauce of soy sauce, sake, dashi, sugar and salt en dressed with chopped green onions, grated daikon radish and red pepper.
  4. Ganmodoki or "mixed tofu balls." Tofu is mixed with crushed yam and chopped vegetables as carrot, burdock, shiitake mushrooms, as well as sesame seed. This mixture is kneaded into 4-cm balls and deep-fried. Used in oden and simmered dishes. "Ganmodoki" means "like a wild goose," the name was presumably given by a Buddhist priest who ate this instead of the real goose.
Two more varieties of tofu are:
  1. Flavored tofu includes the pale golden "egg tofu" (tamago tofu),  tofu flavored with green tea, pumpkin or sesame seed (gomadofu).
  2. Koya-dofu. Freeze-dried tofu, originating with the monks of Mt Koya. They reputedly discovered the process accidentally by leaving tofu outside on a winter night. Grayish. Soak in water to reconstitute it before eating. Solves the problem that tofu can't be kept for long.