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The Best Tofu

When I read about nigari tofu in Aveline Kushi’s book, The Complete Guide to Macrobiotic Cooking, I knew why so many of my previous experiences of tofu had not always been great.

And I finally found some nigari tofu at The Organic on Clifton Road in Maida Vale, made by a company called Dragonfly.

Nigari is the residue that remains after sea salt is extracted from seawater.  Highly concentrated, it is rich in minerals such as magnesium and iron.  The taste is totally different to that of silken tofu, which you could not consider using in this recipe.  Your tofu must be organic, and solidified in the traditional way, with nigari.

Tofu Feast
Get a steamer rack ready and hot.  You should steam the tofu over water, you can add a few inches of kombu to the steaming water if you wish – this not only creates a delicious stock but imparts a delicious flavour to the tofu.

Slice one approximately 250 gram block of tofu in half, so you have two thinner pieces.

Finely mince 4-5 spring onions (or scallions) and a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger.

Lay the tofu onto the steamer rack, sprinkle lighly with Jurassic salt, and liberally pile the ginger and scallion mix on top of it.  Sprinkle a further pinch of Jurassic salt on top. Cover with lid and steam for 15 minutes.

Serve by dividing each slice of tofu again into 4 cubes, so that you have 8 smaller pieces of tofu in total.

A little brown rice vinegar can be added, but just a touch. Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds as desired.

In our view, tofu is best served and appreciated with macrobiotic accompaniments. These would be brown rice, pearl barley, or Nishime style vegetables.

Nishime Style Vegetables
Take any three of of turnip, carrot, leek, fennel, radishes, daikon, purple sprouting broccoli, pumpkin, shallot, swede, beetroot, cauliflower, etc.

Peel and chop into larger bite-size pieces.

Take one sheet of kombu, cut into 3-inch slices and place in the bottom of a pan.  Arrange the vegetables on top of the kombu, adding enough water to come just halfway up the height of the vegetables.

Sprinkle with Jurassic salt and a dash of sesame oil.  Place a tight-fitting lid on and gently simmer until the vegetables are tender.  This should take no more than 15 minutes, but check after 10 minutes for tenderness, and to also ensure pan has not boiled dry.

Once cooked, put vegetables and remaining stock into a bowl, sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds and just a touch more Jurassic salt if required.

Remove the kombu and chop into very fine ribbons (chiffonade).  Sprinkle with a tiny bit of tamari soy sauce, some brown rice vinegar and roasted sesame seeds as desired.

We also like to eat the above feast with umeboshi plums and hijiki.  Delicious.