Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Tofu has never been on my favourite food list. I can eat it.....but it doesn't give me that blithely bounce in my step or the fireworks in my head or the squint in my eyeballs kind of feeling that a creamy, rich, dark evil chocolate ganache or a stinky, stingy sambal belacan or the outrageous, soluble humps of a Baskin and Robbins would. 

It is just simply all-the-way-bland. Say what you may. 

But when I saw a picture of these in Divina Pe's beautiful blog Sense and Serendipity I was stunned into a meek silence and it made me swear to make it. My little tastebuds trembled. They did not rest until I had made some.  

I now sheepishly pronounce that these golden tofu nuggets are absolutely beyond wonderful. Dunk them into a spicy-salty soy-vinegar bird chillie bejewelled sauce and you may think that you've died and been granted eternity in tofu heaven.

So sharing this recipe is my good deed for the day.

Bonito flakes or katsuabushi sounded Greek/Japanese to me. But I found them quite easily in the Japanese section of Jusco.  

They are fish flakes made from dried, fermented and smoked skipjack tuna and are one of the main ingredients of a dashi, a broth that forms the basis of many Japanese soups.  Fishy and smelly heaven. Quite like what anchovies or dried shrimps are to the South East Asian palate. Just more refined.

Tell me, how can anything that is slathered in smelly, wispy, fishy flakes and a million sesame seed bits, fried to a golden, feathery, crust on the outside with a wobbly, silky and creamy inside not be good? 

But remember....dunk them in thoroughly before you let them slither down your throat. If you still find it bland you need not speak to me ever again and/or you may swear and condemn me to tofu heaven. I'd be happy to oblige.

The recipe by Divina Pe from Sense and Serendipity 

The tofu :

1 block semi firm tofu (320 gm)

1 egg
1/4 cup all purpose flour (I used cornflour)
1/4 cup sesame seeds (or a mixture half and half black and white)
1 cup bonito flakes

2 T rice bran oil or untoasted sesame seed oil
(I used a vegetable cooking oil)

Dipping sauce.....

3 T light soy sauce
1 T rice wine vinegar (I used aple cider vinegar)
2 small bird chilies, finely chopped (optional)


1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1 green or spring onion, finely sliced

Prepare tofu : Drain the tofu of any liquid. Pat dry with a clean dish cloth or paper towels, pressing down a little with the palm of your hand to make sure the tofu is dry and to remove excess water. Lay on a board and cut into 3/4 or 1 inch cubes. About 8 slices.

Breading the tofu : Place the flour/cornflour into 1 medium bowl. Break and egg into another and beat lightly to mix the white and yolk well and in the last bowl place the combination of bonito flakes and sesame seeds.

Taking one slice of tofu, cover it completely with flour, dip it in the egg and then coat it in the bonito/sesame seed mixture. Place on a plate and do the same for the rest of the sliced tofu.

Frying the tofu : Heat up the oil in a pan on medium high till hot but not smoking. Carefully place the crusted tofu slices in one by one and make sure that they are seperate. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side or until lightly golden. When done remove and drain on kitchen paper.

Make the dipping sauce :

Slice the bird chillies (if using). Place in a small bowl. Add soy sauce and vinegar and mix well. Put in a serving bowl.

Garnish with topping :

Place the ginger paste and sliced spring onions on top of each tofu crust and put on a serving plate.

To serve :

Either let the guests dip the tofu into the dipping sauce or using a teaspoon dribble some sauce over the tofu before eating. 





tracieMoo said...

is it the flakes they put on 'tako'? it's impossible to think that tofu tastes bland after seeing this! it's so mouth watering..

Zurin said...

Tracie, Im not sure what is tako. the recipe calls for bonito flakes. you can find it easily at any japanese section of a supermart. Try n u'll love it!

Unknown said...

I never eat or buy tofu, but the way you cook it, may be I can like it

3 hungry tummies said...

looks wonderful! the sesame seeds and bonito flakes completely transformed the tofu!

pigpigscorner said...

I'm not a big fan of tofu but this looks amazing! Love the crust!

La Table De Nana said...

If you can believe it..I have never brought myself to eat tofu.
Now..I am more than tempted:) Gorgeous!! I don't have Bonito Flakes..nor tofu..but I can get tofu..Bonito Flakes will have to wait? Is there a substitute?This will sound funny but would panko work? I know it tastes like nothing but it's flaked:)

Through My Kitchen Window said...

Oh zurin, this really does look amazing. I am not at all a fan of tofu, however this would have to be the recipe to change one's mind.
I wish you and your family a safe and merry christmas. See you in the new blogging year.
Mariana xxxxxxxx

Zurin said...

Chapot,I think you will like this :)its So good.

3 hungry tummies,Yes they did actually.surprising whata little creativity can do ! :)

pigspigs corner, ur were just like me until i ate this! :)

Monique,Oh u must try. this is good. Panko breadcrumbs? taste wise theyre so different from bonito im sure...bonito's full of flavour but If you dipped them in the sauce mayb it wld be pretty good too. the dipping sauce gives the bland tofu such a kick. I wld say it almost saves the tofu...lol..

btw, if there are Japanese Canadians around im sure there is bonito around somewhere too:))

Mariana, Tq for the kind n lovely wish. All celebrations bring such joy and warmth its so nice to share! See you next year in blogland! :) yes this is definitely the turning point in tofu world for me :))

Quinn said...

Sedapnya Zurin!!!

Elin Chia said...

Zurin.....that is awesome ! I love tofu haha opp of you. I will have to make this for SURE!!! thanks for sharing such deliciousness :)))

ICook4Fun said...

I love tofu and you make a simple tofu look like million dollar. This look so good and once I get some bonito I am going to make this. Thanks for sharing.

bren said...

Deliciously gorgeous! Tofu is not my favourite but I do eat it once a while for the goodness of soya. This is simply delectable! :)With that bonito flakes.. yum!!

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

Woo!! This look really tempting!! I still have a pkt of bonito flakes, I must quickly cook this. Yummy Yummy!! Merry Christmas to you !!

Cakebrain said...

I love agedashi tofu and this looks very similar to it! It looks so yummy!

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

good lord, the most seductive tofu I have ever seen and read about! you have a way with photos AND words, zu! Win already lah. I surrender. I will make this.

Cathy said...

Your mouthwatering photos and wonderful description makes me want to try these despite being one who doesn't care much for tofu. Love the sesame seed crust.

Happiest Christmas wishes to you and your family.

Nithya Praveen said...

I am not a tofu person either but this one looks awesome.Am gona try this now.First time to ur blog...looks great:)

Nat said...

It does taste good Mummy esp when its dipped in the sauce. Bravo! Can't wait for my bday dinner tommorow. LAMB chops - yeah!!!!

Kitchen Butterfly said...

This holiday, I plan on trying Tofu for the 1st time, so I well relate to the...not being hot on it. My plan is to grate it coarsley and do something with it. We'll see...the ideas are coming in trickles! Looks lovely though I'm nut sure I could manage a huge chunk!

fimere said...

ça ne peut être qu'un bonheur au palais, j'en prends note
bonne soirée

a quiet life said...

everything you touch is perfect... i love your pics, they delight me like little presents! i want to thank you for the christmas wishes and wish you a happy holiday too! also, thank you so much for sharing at food with style, i just love to see what you create everyday, you are such a total treat!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Oh my that has got to be the best looking tofu I have ever seen. That Divina is brilliant isn't she! I hope you and your family and friends have a wonderful holiday season full of love and laughter (and delicious dishes like this!) :D

Deana Sidney said...

They looked crisp and delicious in the photo.... sound delicious too... I can't wait to try them!

Anonymous said...

love fish flakes!
the movement of it when its placed on something hot makes it look alive, literally.
heh. love tofu. esp those with a crispy outer layer!
love the photos zu :)

2 Stews said...

These look as tasty to me as a Christmas cookie...and I'll think you'll definitely go to tofu heaven with this recipe!

Thanks and happy holidays!

Marysol said...

To be honest, I never expected to be enticed by simply looking at a picture of tofu.
Not surprisingly, yours is not an everyday tofu dish.
It looks absolutely delicious!

diva said...

gorgeous dish! one of my favourite dish at any good Japanese restaurant is agedashi and this is just like it! love the crust - delicious.

terri@adailyobsession said...

zurin, beautiful photos and colors! new lenses or new photoshop skills?

su-yin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Su-yin said...

Sorry posted the comment under the wrong profile! :P

I was saying that this recipe looks great, especially since I'm a huge tofu fan! Will try this soon, thanks for the recipe! x

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

This looks so flavorful and delicious! I've personally always loved tofu, even just with a little soy sauce on top (probably grossing you out right now ;p). Thanks for paying the good food forward!

Divina Pe said...

I think yours are better than mine. :D I'm glad you like it.

La Table De Nana said...

I bought everything today Zurin:) I am anxious..this week~Our first Tofu.

La Table De Nana said...

Zurin..I had fun making these:) My first time ever trying Tofu..It is a beautiful dish..I took photos but the daylight was almost gone when I made them let alone serve them..Tofu consistency is like a flan? Or even foie gras..:) Your coating ..is delish..I loved the ginger paste and green onion toppings,,we dipped with chopsticks..We had KaiLan of Ju's with it:)My photos would not honor your dish:( Thank you!

crankydull said...

Beautiful recipe-- but, it's not vegetarian if you use bonito flakes. I'm a life-long vegetarian and always have to ask about bonito in Japanese restaurants. Bummer.


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