Guest Author - Chidori Phillips
Just as kinogoshi or silken tofu is enjoyed cold during hot summers, firm tofu or momendofu is served in a hot broth and savored during the icy winter. The broth, like the tofu itself, is rather light in flavor. The condiments are essential.
If someone were to ask me what is the quickest and easiest Japanese food, I would say it is tofu. Made from coagulated soybean milk, tofu comes in several types from silken to extra firm or even fried. It is highly nutritious and can be eaten straight from the package with little to no cooking but tofu also is featured in many fantastic recipes as well. Because momendofu is strained and pressed, it has a firmer texture that can withstand more handling than the silken variety. Its lower moisture content also allowed it to absorb seasonings during cooking. Firm tofu is a typical ingredient in hot pots or donabe and can be made into fritters or cutlets.
But the Japanese do not like to complicate things, especially when perfection exists already. I adore tofu just as it is.
The simplest and most popular ways to enjoy tofu is to eat it with condiments. Just as kinogoshi or silken tofu is enjoyed fresh and chilled during hot summers, firm tofu or momendofu is poached in a hot broth and savored during icy winters. The broth, like the tofu itself, is rather light in flavor. The condiments are essential.
Boiled Momendofu with Condiments Recipe
1 block tofu, firm or extra firm
1 quart water
1 7-inch piece of konbu
1 Tbsp. mirin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dashi-no-moto
katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
toasted goma (sesame seeds)
green onions, sliced
grated daikon radish
With a clean cloth, wipe of the white film on the konbu kelp. In a small pot, bring to a boil the water and dashi-no-moto and/or konbu kelp strip. Turn off heat and allow this to simmer for 10 minutes.
Cut the firm tofu into small, bite-sized pieces. Carefully place the tofu pieces into the simmering broth. Allow to simmer until the flavors are absorbed by the tofu, about five minutes. Do not boil or stir as you do not want to break up the tofu.
Place all the condiments into small dishes. Place the tofu into an attractive ceramic bowl. Pour in some of the hot broth. Serve this alongside the condiments for guests to help themselves.