I know tofu gets a bad rap, but I rather enjoy it. It sops up flavours while cooking and can be molded into many different directions. One of my favourite kinds of tofu is silken tofu. I still remember the first time I tried it; my friend added it to an orzo soup simply because it was close to its best before date. The tofu was cut into small pieces and every time I ate a piece of tofu, I felt like I was eating from a cool cloud, a pillow of silkiness – in a good way! It was my first introduction to tofu and I was hooked. I started adding it to my soups, too, and cold noodle salads.
This is one of my favourite dishes, especially when enoki mushrooms are on sale, as the silky, melt-in-your-mouth tofu is paired with pale, tender, enoki mushrooms smothered in a delicate, subtle dashi broth flavoured with soy sauce, mirin and sake. It is a snap to put together but it is important to warm the tofu so that it is heated all the way through. This is simplicity at its finest, very much the quintessential trait of Japanese cuisine. Depending on the mushroom you choose, this dish vary from delicate as I described with the enoki mushrooms, to more robust with maitake mushrooms.
Enoki mushrooms are hands-down my favourite mushroom and here is another lovely summer dish for enoki mushrooms: Enoki somen.
It is my pleasure to join the Washoku Warriors this month, featuring our favourite dish from Washoku by Elizabeth Andoh (the original recipe is posted here). I am also submitting it for this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Simona at Briciole.
Silken tofu topped with enoki mushrooms (Tofu no enoki an kake)
1 block silken tofu (14 oz), drained and pressed
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
10 oz/300 g enoki mushrooms, ends trimmed (other Asian mushrooms can be used too – shimeji, maitake, shiitake, etc)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sake
2/3 cup dashi
1 1/4 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons cold water
2 green onions, chopped
1. Cut the tofu in half vertically to make two servings (personally I think this recipe serves 4).
2. Place each tofu piece, separately or together, in a microwave-safe baking dish.
3. Heat the oil over high heat in a heavy skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Sprinkle with the salt and then add the sake and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits. The mushrooms will wilt slightly. Add the stock, soy sauce and mirin and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
4. While the mushrooms are cooking, heat the tofu in a microwave on high for 90-120 seconds. This will ensure the tofu is heated through. Pour off any milky fluid that comes from the tofu.
5. When the tofu is piping hot, add the cornstarch paste to the mushroom mixture over high heat and stir for about 1 minute, or until thickened.
6. Pour the hot mushroom sauce over the tofu, sprinkle with green onions and serve immediately.