For an upcoming column, I'm looking for a few out-of-the-ballpark recipes. Do you have a favorite you'd care to share?
Dubuseon - Fancy Steamed Tofu
Alternate Spelling: Dubu Seon, doobooseon, dooboo seon, tubuseon, tubu seon
1 block water packed tofu
6 ounces ground beef or chicken
2 each eggs
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 each scallions or spring onions
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Mustard Vinegar Sauce (gyeoja-chojang 겨자초장):
5 tablespoons mustard powder
2 1/2 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon pine nuts
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 small Korean (asian/nashi) pear
1/3 teaspoon citron honey concentrate
Garnish (gomyeong 고명):
1 each egg
2 each pyogo (shiitake) mushrooms
4 each seogi mushrooms (석이버섯 manna lichen, stone ear)
1 teaspoon pine nuts
2 each Korean chili peppers
Fine chop the scallion/spring onion and mince the garlic.
Mix all ingredients together and let stand 15 minutes.
Press the Tofu:
Place tofu on a clean, lint free kitchen towel, and place a second towel on top of the tofu.
Place a weight (small plate with a 16 - 20 ounce can of xxx) on top of the tofu, and let drain for about 45 minutes.
Place drained tofu into a mixing bowl and mash.
Place ground beef/chicken into a mixing bowl and add seasoning mix.
Mix well, then let stand 15 minutes.
Soak dried pyogo mushrooms in cold water for about 24 hours.
Thin slice the pyogo and seogi mushrooms.
Separate the egg yolk from the white and whip each.
Pan-fry the yolk until lightly browned on both sides, let cool, then slice into about 1/4 inch wide strips. cut the strips into about 1 inch lengths.
Repeat with egg white.
Slice the Korean chili pepper into thin slivers about 1 inch long.
Cut pine nuts in half.
Mustard Vinegar Sauce:
Mix the warm water and the mustard powder together and let stand for 15 minutes for flavor to develop.
Using a mortar and pestle, mash the pear (or toss into a blender with one or two teaspoons water).
Rough chop the pine nuts.
Mix all ingredients together and let stand for at least 20 minutes.
Add the mashed dubu(tofu) and eggs to the seasoned meat and mix well.
Place wet cheese cloth in a steamer tray and spread the tofu/egg/meat mix in an even layer (about 1/3 inch deep).
Place the mushrooms, egg strips, slivered peppers, and pine nuts on top of the bean curd, then steam over high heat for 10 minutes.
Let it cool, cut into roughly 1 inch squares, and serve with mustard sauce
-marinade 300-400 grams of whole tofu block in a cup of lime juice, star anise, ground ginger and kikkoman or your choice of soy sauce overnight.
-cook with some baby bok choy in a steamer for 30 minutes.
-slightly thicken the marinade with some honey and sesame oil (add some chopped fresh chili if you want it spicy), strain.
-slice steamed tofu into rectangular pieces, arrange on the plate with steamed baby bok choy and drizzle thickened marinade.
-garnish with chopped cashew nuts and crushed pineapple.
One of my go-to favorites is dead simple- it's from Harmi Kurihara's book "Harumi's Japanese Cooking", called something like "Hot spring eggs" (onsen tamago). I don't have it in front of me at the moment, but the gist is that you take a small block of tofu-- e.g., 2x2x3ish--and scoop out a little indentation. You then drop on a poached egg, and sprinkle with scallions, ginger, maybe some katsuoboshi, and drizzle with a bit of sauce made from mirin, sake, and soy sauce. (When I'm in a rush, I use soba tsuyu!) We like this even more with a little bit of tenkasu (crispy tempura bits) sprinkled on top.
The rich egg yolk and the creamy tofu are really fantastic together. I've also done it with warmed tofu and sauce in the winter, very comforting.
I definitely have not gotten the onsen tamago technique down, though :( Since I'm not using onsen water anyway, I generally just do a regular poach. For some reason, I find it hard to keep the water hot enough, but I don't know that the technique creates all that different a result anyway. (My theory is that unless there's something flavored like vinegar or onsen water involved, the main way that egg poaching techniques differ is in the shape and degree of doneness of the eggs, not the taste! This just requires a very gently done soft egg, so any technique that achieves that will be similar...)
A couple of my favorite tofu dishes (in addition to mabu tofu) are ganmodoki and shiraae. Ganmodoki is a tofu fritter (we make it with minced shimp, cloud ear mushrooms, tiny pieces of parboiled gobo, carrot, and minced green onion). You can eat this as is with a little soy and/or karashi. This is also wonderful in oden where it absorbs the flavor of the seasoned broth. On the lighter side is shiraae, a tofu salad. Pressed and mashed tofu, mixed with vegetables (carrots,shiitake, spinach) and seasoned with soy, sesame seeds and a bit of sugar.