Where exactly did March go? It has been all blur with late nights and working weekends, and the next thing I knew was that I needed to do my tax. Except that I do recall acknowledging that I now reached the new low as I was swallowing a left-over bagel from company breakfast for lunch. At 4PM.
So when one of my co-workers asked me if I knew a good Japanese restaurant to take her out-of-town friends to, I realized I haven’t been to any of the places I was recommending for a while. However, the thought of fancy Japanese restaurants hit me with a sudden craving:
Goma dofu. Must. Eat. Goma dofu.
Rich, nutty and delicately sweet, goma dofu (sesame tofu) is actually not tofu in a sense that it is not “bean curd”. It is sesame crushed into a paste, mixed with water and thickened by kuzu starch, then molded to look like tofu. Intense sesame flavor and creamy texture always leave me wanting more, but I never attempted to make it myself since the authentic production method – still strictly followed at zen temples where it was originated – sounds incredibly labor intensive. And obviously, now is not a good time for serious culinary experiments.
But this is a kind of emergency, I thought. If it is basically made of sesame paste and starch that thickens it – Wouldn’t my pantry staples like tahini and corn starch do? Continue reading →
Where I grew up, we had a local tofu shop around the corner from my elementary school. Every morning when I walked to the school along with other students, we could see steam coming out of their kitchen window and smell cooked soy beans as they make fresh tofu from scratch. They would close when the daily batch was sold out since that’s all they had, and if you didn’t make it there by 4:30 or 5, you would most likely have to head to a super market to buy packaged stuff – So all the housewives in the area built the stop in their daily routine, including my mother. Their daughter, Fumie, was my sister’s classmate and tofu in my household always had a prefix of “Fumie’s dad’s” whenever it is served, often in miso soup or as is with simple toppings of soy sauce and grated ginger. The shop had been around for a long time in neighborhood, I figured, because Fumie’s dad was my aunt’s classmate, whom everybody in my dad’s siblings lovingly referred to as “the son of the tofu shop”.
Perhaps it is because of this sentimental and intimate relationship I had with tofu that I tend to get agitated when I hear somebody say they don’t like tofu. And usually I take it upon myself to attempt converting them without being asked to. I know. You’re welcome. Continue reading →