I used to serve this dish back in the Red Ginger days. On the menu I called it hiyayakko, which is a traditional Japanese dish of chilled soft tofu topped with grated ginger, green onions, and bonito flakes. In truth my own dish is miles away from the slightly austere hiyayakko — it’s vibrant and robust and fresh, turning something potentially quite boring into a zesty surprise. It’s refreshing and healthy.
|A slightly goofy presentation, perhaps.|
You will need:
7 ounces medium-firm tofu (half of a 14 ounce regular block, cut lengthwise horizontally)
2/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, cleaned
1/2 cup green onions, roughly cut
1/3 cup canola oil
juice of half a lime
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or fleur de sel
Chinese dark soy sauce
fried rice noodles, optional
Press some of the water out of the tofu slab by folding several sheets of paper towels and putting them on a plate. Put the tofu on the paper towels and cover with more paper towels. Gently place another flat plate on top and allow to press for about a half hour. Remove tofu and chill until ready for use.
In a food processor blend cilantro, green onions, oils, lime juice, sugar, pepper, and salt until relative smooth. You may need to scrape the processor bowl on occasion to combine the ingredients evenly. Add a little more oil if you think it’s not processing smoothly. Cover and chill this mixture until service time.
Take the tofu out of the fridge and plate it. Using a knife gently cut the slab into a grid of cubes. Spread some of the chilled herb mixture over the top in an even layer. Dot the plate with sriracha and dark soy. Top with fried rice noodles.
Eat as an appetizer or a side dish. You’ll find that this delicious dish is super-easy to make!
Tip: fry rice noodles in 375 degree hot oil and drain on paper towels. Use chinese mai fun noodles, Vietnamese bun noodles, or any kind of glass noodle.