Monday, November 3, 2008

Japanese Chilled Tofu (Hiyayakko)

First off, I'd like to say that I am so thankful to be in a place where I can go out and voice my opinion at the polls without fear, to be able to live in a place where I can hobnob with all different types of people of all cultures and share in their wonderful foods, and to be able to embrace the differences and similarities that make each person unique.

As an example, I'm thinking back to a few years ago to the time when I went out with my cousin at Foo Foo Tei in Hacienda Heights. We were a party of a Viet-Chinese and a Thai-Chinese sitting down for dinner with Chinese cousins at a Japanese restaurant and enjoying our conversation in English. That day, cousin-in-law let me try Japanese chilled tofu at Foo Foo Tei in Hacienda Heights. Immediately I thought that for the fours bucks I paid for a small cube of tofu, I could get me 16 times that much if I made it myself. Seemed easy enough to replicate, so I did.

Hiyayakko is more a summer dish that is common in Japan, but now our family of tofu lovers eat it throughout the year. It's basically a cube of cold silken tofu (usually) that can be topped with various items, but the most common toppings are green onions and katsuobushi. I also often top the tofu with whatever sprouts I can find (alfalfa, diakon), but I left it out this time because I didn't have any on hand. I also sometimes sprinkle sesame seed on the tofu.

The basic ingredients needed for this dish are:

4 oz cube of cold, silken (soft) tofu
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
1 tablespoon bonito flakes (katsuobushi)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce

I buy my tofu pre-packaged from Costco or 99 Ranch because it's so much easier than making it myself, and I can keep packages in the fridge on hand. The tofu in these packages sit in water. Just open them and drain the water. You can also buy tofu online. There are so many brands of tofu available. Just try different brands and see which on you like. If you can find it fresh or can make it yourself, go for it. Just pour the sesame oil and soy sauce on the tofu first, then add the green onions and lastly, the bonito flakes.

The flakes are actually dried fish shavings that are often sold at Asian supermarkets in packages. If they get wet, they will get soggy, so make sure you put these on last.

Happy Election Day for those of you in the States, and make sure you go vote. I'll be dragging my 5 month old, three year old, and five year old with me by myself to the polls this afternoon, so if I can do it, you can too.

Blazing Hot WokI am submitting this dish to Regional Recipes, a blogging event created at Blazing Hot Wok to celebrate food from the different regions of the world. This month, Wandering Chopsticks is hosting the event to celebrate food from Japan. If you've got a recipe you'd like to submit, do so by November 15 by sending it to wanderingchopsticks(at)gmail(dot)com. Please check out Regional Recipes for the rules.


Wandering Chopsticks said...

Bonito flakes are my favorite part. Funny! I just bought silken tofu today too!

I vote by mail. It's easier. Bring toys to keep the kids occupied!

Verification word is "unding." Have no idea what that means but it sounds good. Here's to "unding" 8 years!

Big Boys Oven said...

OH my got this is so thrilling with excitement to see sucha beautiful chilled tofu, I just love them and can have lots of them too!

Piee and JSBanana said...

I just finished reading your entire blog and I love it so far. Delicious pictures and wonderful recipes.

I will have to try your tofu recipe since I need some new ways to eat tofu.

By the way, I'll be adding you to blogs i follow.

shavedicesundays said...

WC, we actually didn't have a line to wait in at all. The benefits of being able to vote when everyone else is at work.

big boys oven, added you to my blog list. You've got talent!

piee and jsbanana, how would you pronounce piee? Like Pie in the sky? Your blog is interesting. Some parts quite hilarious if I might say so. Thanks for adding me!

Piee and JSBanana said...

Piee is pronounced as pie as in apple pie. There's a long story behind why my nickname has an extra "e".

Food For Tots said...

Homecooked food is always more economical and healthy than outside food. I luv bonito flakes! Will try out your recipe soon. Great shot!

imjustatree said...

hello, found your site thru chubbypanda. awesome blog, and it's nice to see some reviews of places that are near to me. i always wondered what boston kitchen was too...now i know.
i hope you will give my blog a gander, and let me know what you think as i've just started, and i've added you to my blog, if you don't mind.

you have beautiful pictures as well!

shavedicesundays said...

piee, you'll have to tell the story some day!

food for tots, so easy to do, and I love easy.

mothermayi, I just read through your blog. Lots of great posts so far. I've been looking for a good place to get schwarma around here and now I know where to go. Thanks! I'd like to suggest allowing comments so people like me can bug you regarding your posts. Makes it more interactive, but that's my take (you might disagree, of course).

imjustatree said...

hey shaved ice, i do have comments heh. they're labeled as "rah rah rahs" someone else told me the same thing...maybe i should just change it back to comments...thanks for the input! i am planning on going back to taza fresh sometime for their kabobs....i've also read good things about their baklava as well...

shavedicesundays said...

mothermayi, Ahhhh, so that's where your comments are located. Yeah I didn't figure it out, so it is a little confusing.

Jen said...

Thanks for posting this recipe! Earlier this year I enjoyed this as a side in a lunchbox and wondered how to replicate the simple yet amazing flavors.


shavedicesundays said...

jenious, you're very welcome!

Mary Bergfeld said...

You have a lovely blog. Thanks for posting this recipe. It looks absolutely delicious.

shavedicesundays said...

Mary, thank you for stopping by and for the lovely comment!