Tofu! Now some of you are going to read that and think, WHAT?! TOFU?! Yes, tofu. Why? It is horribly underrated and completely delicious. Once you get the real thing. Tofu is thought of as a vegetarian or vegan ingredient, and yes it is, but in Asia it is as common to see it in a dish with meat, as not. See my recipe for Kimchi Jjigae (Korean Kimchi, Pork & Tofu Stew) for a very tasty example of this.

Tofu is also a fast food. The fastest, it is already good to go. It soaks up flavours and loves contrasting textures. I love it in a crispy fritter for brunch as much as I do in a stew. I love proper silken tofu, fresh from fridges of Asian food shops (especially Japanese). Silken is a joy, the very good stuff has the texture of custard. All of it is sublime when fried, and I have fried tofu every which way. A firm – nay, wobbly – favourite is Agedashi Tofu. 

Agedashi Tofu – Fried Tofu with Dashi!

A Japanese delight of a dish, age-dashi means fry-dashi and that is what this is, fried tofu with a seasoned dashi broth. Seasoned with soy and mirin (you can use sake too). It is naturally gluten free, usually using potato starch or corn starch. I love to use potato starch for this, it confers a stretchy crispness which is perfect with the wobbly tofu underneath. I sometimes mix the potato starch with rice flour, and of course you can just use rice flour too which will give a lovely crisp coating.

The dashi sauce is very simple and very quick. A light broth and a simple infusion of katsuobushi (fermented and smoked skipjack tuna, easily available in Japanese shops or online), and the basis of many Japanese dishes, including miso soup. If you don’t eat fish you can make a dashi with kombu seaweed too. Use 1 part kombu to 10 parts water. You can cold brew it by just letting it sit in the water overnight in the fridge, or if time is pressing you can do this faster by putting the kombu and cold water in a pot and bringing it very slowly to the boil. Remove the kombu just before the boil (if you leave it in it will impart a bitter flavour), and you are good to go.

Once the dashi is made this is a very fast dish, and it is very satisfying. I like to serve it with grated drained mooli (those long pointy white radishes that you see in Asian food shops) and shredded spring onion. If you can’t get mooli, this would be perfectly lovely with some shredded cabbage and carrot.

To make this gluten free, use a gluten free soy sauce or tamari.

Agedashi Tofu (Japanese Fried Tofu with Dashi)
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Agedashi Tofu (Japanese Fried Tofu with Dashi)

Ingredients

  • 400g medium firm tofu
  • 4 tbsp potato starch
  • 4 tbsp rice flour
  • oil for frying (to fill a frying pan up to an inch - or use a deep fryer)
    dashi
  • 10g katsuobushi
  • 500ml water
    dashi sauce
  • 250ml dashi
  • 50ml mirin (or sake)
  • 50ml soy sauce
    garnish
  • 1 mooli / daikon (it is the same thing) - you won't use the whole thing
  • 2 spring onions shredded
  • furikake or shichimi togarashi (Japanese seasonings - you can just use a sprinkle of chilli and toasted sesame seed too)

Instructions

  • Start with your dashi. Put some boiling water fresh from the kettle into a saucepan. Add the katsuobushi and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and leave for 10 minutes to infuse. Drain and reserve the katsuobushi (you can dry them in the oven and serve them through rice, for example). Combine 250ml of this (save the remaining for another use, make this dish again or use it as stock) and combine with the soy and mirin. Bring to just before the boil and turn the heat off. (I prefer to serve this cold).
  • Prepare your mooli / daikon, you will want a couple of tablespoons per serving. Peel it and grate it. Squeeze excess water (there will be a lot) through a clean towel or some kitchen paper, and leave to the side.
  • Combine the rice flour and potato starch and season with a little sea salt. Cut the tofu into cubes (I like to make them small to get more crispy surface area). Heat the oil to 180C (check with a kitchen thermometer or roughly check by adding a little bread, if it sizzles immediately you are good to go).
  • Add the tofu to the oil and after 3 minutes or so, gently and carefully turn it. When it is crisp all over remove from the oil and drain it on some kitchen roll.
  • Serve the crisp tofu with the mooli / daikon on top and some spring onion, with the seasoning of your choice (as per the ingredients) and in a gorgeous puddle of the seasoned dashi broth.
  • Enjoy!
  • http://eatlikeagirl.com/agedashi-tofu-japanese-fried-tofu-dashi/

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