Sunday, August 5, 2012

Agemiso Tofu | Tofu no Misoni


Prepare yourselves for The Most Massive Miso-Tofu Missive Ever Made.

I went back and did further testing and refining of my technique for skillet-miso-glazed tofu and have concluded that for the best results, I had to split my old recipe up into two different approaches plus a third, unusual one.
  1. Agemiso Tofu: basically agedashi tofu with a miso sauce instead of just dashi.
  2. Tofu no Misoni: miso-simmered tofu. In my opinion, this method gets better texture than my previous approach.
  3. Pan-fried tofu blocks with miso glaze: this one's really an alternate approach to the Agemiso Tofu. Name suggestions for this approach are welcome, haha. "Seared" doesn't seem quite right, but maybe.
You can see my old approach here. Basically, the problem with my old approach was that the cornstarch I used to give the tofu extra crispness when pan-frying turned around to give the tofu extra mushiness when the tofu was subsequently simmered in the miso sauce (not necessarily a bad thing--I actually kinda liked the extra starch layer, and Japanese cuisine fully embraces gooey and slimy textures, such as uni sushi [sea urchin] and grated yamaimo--but not what I wanted to achieve), while also doing its job of thickening up the sauce as it reduced to a glaze.

Thus, to fix this, I had to drop the cornstarch dusting step in the miso-simmered version, which I'm now calling Tofu no Misoni (misoni means miso-simmered). This version, then, doesn't have a crisp tofu skin.

To keep the tofu surface crisp, you can't simmer the tofu in the sauce to cook it. Ultimately, the Agemiso Tofu approach is the same as Agedashi (age referring to frying), where you dust with starch and deep-fry the tofu while separately preparing the dashi soup for pouring over the tofu afterward. I went for shallow-frying rather than the usual deep-frying in order to save oil and some effort. However, this still sort of defeats the ease of technique and effort I liked about my old approach.

Finally, my third approach. I tried cornstarch-dusting and then pan-frying with thick-cut blocks of tofu (because blocks have satisfying mouth-feel), but this leads to a crisp top and bottom with an uncooked middle layer. This is why I cut my tofu thinner for the shallow-fried and miso-simmered approaches, to allow them to cook through. However, I actually really liked the crisp exterior with uncooked center! It provided for a more complex and tasty mix of flavors--but you have to like the flavor of "uncooked" tofu in this case (quotations because tofu is cooked in the process of making it).

On to the recipes and photos:

Agemiso Tofu
Shallow-fried (or deep-fried if you prefer) tofu with miso sauce prepared separately.



1/2 block medium-firm tofu (7-8 oz)
~3 TBS cornstarch

1/2 cup dashi (or chicken stock if you can't find dashi. I use the instant powder kind of dashi, rather than making my own, for convenience.)
2 tsp white miso paste
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice wine

1/4-inch vegetable oil

1/4 tsp tapioca or potato starch, mixed with 1/4 tsp water

katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
aonori flakes (seaweed)
green onions, slivered or minced
  1. Press tofu for about 10 minutes. Once excess fluid has been drained, cut into flat matchbox-sized blocks.
  2. Pat tofu dry and dust with cornstarch.
  3. While the tofu is being pressed, whisk the dashi, miso, sugar, soy sauce, and rice wine together in a small bowl.
  4. Heat oil in wok over medium-high heat until tiny bubbles form around a chopstick inserted into the oil. Arrange tofu blocks in wok, broad-side down, and shallow-fry until browned on both sides, several minutes each side. Remove tofu from oil and drain on paper towel lined dish or cooling rack.
  5. Pour miso sauce into a small skillet and simmer until reduced by about half. Remove from heat. Stir the tapioca starch so that it's suspended in the water rather than clumped, pour into miso sauce while stirring. Stir and apply low heat until thickened a little.
  6. Arrange tofu in serving dish with raised edges or a bowl. Pour miso sauce over tofu. Sprinkle katsuobushi (bonito flakes), aonori (seaweed) flakes, and slivered or minced green onions over the tofu and serve.



Tofu no Misoni
Miso-simmered tofu: simple to prepare and delicious.



1/2 block medium-firm tofu (7-8 oz.)

1/2 cup dashi (or chicken stock if you can't find dashi. I use the instant powder kind of dashi, rather than making my own, for convenience.)
2 tsp white miso paste
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice wine

1-2 TBS vegetable oil

katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
aonori flakes (seaweed)
green onions, slivered or minced
  1. Press tofu for about 10 minutes. Once excess fluid has been drained, cut into into flat matchbox-sized blocks. Pat tofu dry.
  2. While the tofu is being pressed, whisk the dashi, miso, sugar, soy sauce, and rice wine together in a small bowl.
  3. Heat oil in small skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Arrange tofu blocks in skillet, broad-side down, and pan fry until lightly browned on both sides, several minutes each side.
  4. Pour miso sauce into the skillet, turn heat down to medium. Simmer for several minutes on each side of tofu, until tofu has cooked through and sauce has reduced by about half.
  5. Remove tofu from heat and arrange in a platter. Pour sauce over tofu. Sprinkle katsuobushi (bonito flakes), aonori (seaweed) flakes, and slivered or minced green onions over the tofu and serve.


Pan-fried tofu blocks with miso glaze


1/2 block medium-firm tofu (7-8 oz)
~3 TBS cornstarch

1/2 cup dashi (or chicken stock if you can't find dashi. I use the instant powder kind of dashi, rather than making my own, for convenience.)
2 tsp white miso paste
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice wine

1-2 TBS vegetable oil

1/4 tsp tapioca or potato starch, mixed with 1/4 tsp water

katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
aonori flakes (seaweed)
green onions, slivered or minced
  1. Press tofu for about 10 minutes. Once excess fluid has been drained, cut into thick blocks.
  2. Pat tofu dry and dust with cornstarch.
  3. While the tofu is being pressed, whisk the dashi, miso, sugar, soy sauce, and rice wine together in a small bowl.
  4. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Arrange tofu blocks in skillet, broad-side down, and pan fry until browned and crisp on both sides, several minutes each side. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towel lined dish or cooling rack.
  5. Pour miso sauce into a small skillet and simmer until reduced by about half. Remove from heat. Stir the tapioca starch so that it's suspended in the water rather than clumped, pour into miso sauce while stirring. Stir and apply low heat until thickened a little.
  6. Arrange tofu in serving dish with raised edges or a bowl. Pour miso sauce over tofu. Sprinkle katsuobushi (bonito flakes), aonori (seaweed) flakes, and slivered or minced green onions over the tofu and serve.

Heheh, in this attempt, which was actually before the agemiso and misoni approaches, I thickened the sauce too much.

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