Tofu became a mainstay in Japan from the time it was introduced from China in the early 8th century when Buddhism stressed vegetarianism. Tofu makes an excellent meat alternative not only because it is high in protein but it easily replaces meat in many recipes.
One of my favorite tofu dishes is a tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlets) recipe that replaces the pork with tofu slices. Even those who usually dislike tofu are surprised by how delicious it can be. My meat-loving husband does not miss the meat at all with breaded tofu cutlets.
The other recipes this week may seem ridiculously simple, but I thought it a good introduction to those who are unfamiliar with tofu. In Japan, the simplest ways to enjoy tofu are the most popular. Plain with condiments. Foreigners may incorporate tofu in complicated recipes to benefit from the nutritional value but they believe tofu itself to be too bland. I encourage you to develop your palate enough to appreciate and enjoy more delicate tastes because the natural flavor of tofu is delicious!
There are many types of tofu, but for the recipes this week, I have used only the silken (kinogoshi) and the firm (momendofu) varieties. After all, there are so many recipes and so little timecmore recipes will be on the way.
Hiyayakko Tofu with Condiments Recipe
Usually a summer dish, fresh silken tofu is a cool, no-cook meal or appetizer. The condiments enhance the light flavor of the soybean curd.
Boiled Momendofu with Condiments Recipe
Firm tofu withstands the light poaching in broth and makes a warm, healthful dinner. The condiments are key to enjoying this simple food.
Breaded Tofu Cutlets Recipe
These breaded tofu cutlets are the vegetarian version of tonkatsu, breaded pork cutlet.
I love tofu! Keep an eye on the Japanese food site this week because I plan to post articles about the different types, with pics, as well as a how-to if you would like to make your own tofu at home.
Your Japanese food words for the week: Kinogoshi (kee-no-go-shee) silken tofu. Momendofu (mow-men-doh-foo) firm tofu. Hiyayakko (hee-yah-yak-ko) cold tofu.
When you have only two pennies left in the world,
buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.
- Zen proverb
BellaOnline Japanese Food Editor