A modernised version of that much-loved classic, agedashi tofu, this recipe layers new textures and bacon-infused dashi with a zingy hit from pickled spring onions.
- 400 g silken firm tofu, cut into 4 equal squares
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) rice vinegar
- 1½ tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 4 spring onions, finely sliced, white and green parts reserved separately
- 120 g short bacon
- 1 tsp instant dashi powder (see note)
- 5 eggs
- salt and white pepper
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs (see note)
- vegetable oil, to shallow fry
- shichimi togarashi (see note), to serve
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 tofu in a double layer of paper towel and weigh down with a plate to extract as much water as possible. Set aside.
Combine 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp soy sauce and 2 tsp mirin in a bowl. Add the green part of the spring onions, season to taste and set aside until ready to serve.
Place the bacon, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, remaining soy sauce, remaining mirin, and white part of the spring onions in a small saucepan. Add 600 ml water, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove bacon and pat dry with paper towel. Add dashi to the saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, season to taste and set aside.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C.
Place the bacon on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 8–10 minutes until crisp. Finely chop.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a gentle simmer with the remaining rice vinegar. Crack 4 of the eggs into the simmering water and poach for 3½–4 minutes. Drain on paper towel.
Meanwhile, place the seasoned flour and panko crumbs in separate bowls. Lightly beat remaining egg in another bowl. Pat tofu dry and dust with flour. Dip in egg then roll in panko crumbs. Place a large frying pan over high heat and cover the base with 2 cm oil. Fry tofu for 2 minutes on each side until golden. Drain on paper towel.
Bring the dashi mixture to the boil.
Place a square of tofu in each serving bowl and balance a poached egg on top. Scatter over bacon and drained pickled spring onions. Pour bacon dashi around tofu and sprinkle with togarashi.
• Instant dashi powder and panko crumbs are available from Japanese food stores and some Asian food stores.
• Shichimi togarashi is a Japanese chilli pepper blend. If unavailable substitute cayenne pepper.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Jerrie-Joy Redman-Lloyd. Small blue bowl from Dinosaur Designs. Tile piece from Onsite Supply.