This dish is healthy, easy, fast, and pretty. The flavors are incredibly clean and simple, but they marry together in a way that is immensely satisfying. I found it surprisingly filling, though Zak went back for two servings (I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s a testament to how delicious it is). The mushrooms and scallions add just the right amount of texture to the silky, creamy tofu. The umami of the dashi and mushrooms, slight sweetness of the rice wine, smokiness of the sesame oil, heat of the ginger, and bite of the scallions slightly permeate the tofu to give it a simple but satisfying flavor. This dish is a great way to get acclimated with silken tofu, and I plan to make variations on it in the future.
If there are some ingredients on the list that you’re having a hard time finding at your local grocery store, check out any Asian markets in your area. Not only do they stock Asian ingredients that the grocery store may not, the prices of many ingredients tend to be significantly cheaper (for example, the two kinds of mushrooms I bought for the week were at least 3 times more expensive at my local grocery store). That said, most of the ingredients in this dish are fairly typically found at a regular grocery store, and I suggested substitutions for some of the more exotic ones.
Silken Tofu in Aromatic Broth
Adapted from TheAge.com, Elizabeth Chong
1 lb. package silken tofu, drained
3/4 lb. enoki mushrooms, cleaned (any mushroom would do)
2 tbs. fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 1/2 cups boiling water plus 2 tsp. instant dashi (you can also use chicken, fish, or vegetable stock if desired)
2 tbs. shaohsing rice wine (pale dry sherry can be substituted in a pinch)
3 tbs. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. Korean chile flakes (or crushed red pepper)
3 scallions, mostly white parts with some green for garnish, thinly sliced
3 tbs. canola oil
A few turns of freshly cracked black pepper
A few small pinches of ground coriander
Cut tofu into 4 even-sized squares. Transfer each piece to a bowl for steaming. Place an even amount of mushrooms on the bottom of each dish. Pour about 1/2 cup of dashi broth over each piece of tofu and 1/2 tbs. of rice wine. Place an even amount of ginger on top of each piece of tofu.
Add about 1/2″ – 1″ of water to a vessel large enough to fit the dishes and appropriate for steaming, such as a wok, stock pot, or sauce pan, and bring to a boil.
Add the bowls to the pot directly into the water and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Steam about 13-15 minutes until heated through.
Meanwhile, add canola oil to a small pan and heat over medium-high heat until smoking.
Add soy sauce, sesame oil, chili flakes, and green onion on top of each piece of tofu in even amounts. Carefully drizzle the smoking oil over each piece of tofu.
Season each piece of tofu with a turn or two of freshly cracked black pepper and a pinch of coriander.