This is a dish for true tofu lovers. It’s worth obtaining high-quality tofu as it really makes a difference. A very virtuous bowl, I feel very clean and fresh eating this.
- 400 g block good-quality firm tofu
- 2 g dried wakame seaweed
- 200 g minced chicken breast
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sake
- 1 egg white
- 50 g carrot, finely chopped
- 3 spring onions, finely chopped
- 2 tsp finely grated ginger
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- salt and ground white pepper
For the ginger broth
- 750 ml dashi stock or 2 tsp instant dashi powder mixed with water
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sake
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 4 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp water
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Wrap the tofu in muslin cloth and squeeze out as much of the water as you can. Chop roughly and set aside.
Soak the dried wakame in a bowl of cold water for 5–10 minutes. Drain and squeeze out the water, then chop finely.
Combine the chicken with the soy sauce, sake and egg white in a large bowl, mixing well with your hands. Add the tofu, carrot, spring onions, 1 tsp grated ginger, wakame, cornflour, baking powder, salt and white pepper. Carry on mixing well until everything is combined.
Line a small rice bowl with a sheet of cling film and scoop a quarter of the tofu mixture into the bowl. Wrap the tofu firmly with cling film as if you are making a small parcel. Secure the top with a rubber band and repeat to make 3 more parcels. Place the parcels in a steamer and steam for about 20 minutes on medium-low heat.
Whilst the parcels are steaming, make the broth. Heat the dashi stock in a saucepan, add the soy sauce, sake and mirin, and simmer for 3–4 minutes. Add the shallots and season with salt and white pepper, and let it boil for 2 minutes. Pour in the cornflour mixture and continue to cook, stirring all the time, for about 20 seconds or until the broth is thickened and shiny.
Remove the cling film from the tofu parcels and place each in individual bowls. Pour the broth over the top, and serve with the remaining grated ginger alongside.
Recipe from Cook Japan: Stay Slim Live Longer by Reiko Hashimoto (Bloomsbury, hb, $35). Read Reiko's thoughts on the benefits of the Japanese way of eating here.