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Yuzu Ginger Daikon & Carrots over Silky Tofu

March 5, 2011
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It’s Saturday morning and a Japanese breakfast is in order. A full Japanese keiseki breakfast meal is very elaborate, as you may have seen from my Nagano trip post. It could include miso soup, grilled fish, rice with nori seaweed, egg, and pickles. It is definitely more on the savory side than even American scrambled eggs with bacon. But making the whole ordeal is obviously not practical for a weekday breakfast. And it’s down-right impossible for me, even on a weekend.

So far, I’ve mainly attempted to cook Japanese dishes for dinner and I have not swayed from my assigned task. For the first time, however, I attempt to make a Japanese breakfast dish, using my own recipe to boot. Shocking, I know. Technically, a part of this dish didn’t start out at breakfast but found its way onto rice for dinner one day. The leftovers, however, were matched with tofu on the following morning and it turned out to be a perfect match!

Here’s my recipe for ‘Yuzu Ginger Daikon & Carrots over Silky Tofu’ (on side note, in my US formulation lab I previously made a Yuzu Sake Facial Toner and it was well received, so if you’re feeling adventurous, you can drink some sake and smother the sauce from this recipe on  your face, it will do wonders (don’t get it in your eyes though)):

The first thing you can do ahead of time, previous night lets say, and that is to make the kiriboshi daikon (sun-dried radish) dashi stock. I used Elizabeth Andoh’s Kansha book’s recipe on pg. 76.

It calls for:

1/2 cup kiriboshi daikon strips

1 piece kombu seaweed, 2 x 1-1/2 inch size

4 cups soft water

Place the ingredients in a glass jar, cover, and keep for at least 30 minutes.  Strain the flavor-infused liquid and keep the strips and kombu for another use.

Now, this stock matches very well with the daikon and carrot I’m going to use, but you’re not limited to making this type. You may probably get away with using Hon-dashi ready-made seasoning if you’re strapped for time or patience. You will not get the slightly sweet flavor of the kiriboshi daikon, however. Also, you may be inclined to omit using stock to cook the veggies and use plain water but this will not give you the sweet savory backdrop to the dish, so don’t skip this step. Stock is everything as I learned.

For this recipe you don’t need 4 cups of stock so you may either halve the recipe or use the leftover stock for another purpose.

Peel a 10 x 10 cm (roughly 4 x 4 in) size daikon and 1 thick carrot. Slice in matchstick-size pieces. Heat a skillet on high heat, put some a Tbsp or so of vegetable oil and lightly fry the daikon and carrot strips. Lower the heat to medium and pour 1 – 2 cups stock. Simmer until vegetables are soft, do not cover. Most of the liquid will evaporate but there will be some left for the sauce.

Meanwhile, grate a good knob of fresh ginger (peel first). Once the veggies are cooked, turn the heat off. Proceed to introduce the ginger and 3 Tbsps of Yuzu-flavored soy sauce. I’m sure you can find this sauce in a Japanese supermarket, it is used for dipping. The unique citrus flavor and aroma of this sauce goes well with ginger and these veggies. And that’s pretty much it!

You may cool the mixture to room temperature, or if made ahead of time, there’s no need to reheat when serving. Just slap a good quality silky (not cotton) type tofu piece, about 10 x 10 cm single serving size, on a nice plate. Pour the veggie ginger sauce mixture onto the tofu and eat. This recipe will yield about 4 good heapings of veggies, so roughly 4 servings, depending on how much you like vegetables and/or ginger.  For a heartier version, serve a bowl of rice on the side.


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