I’ve mentioned this before–when you start cooking Japanese food at home, it makes sense to just keep doing it. The ingredients effectively make you stock an entirely new kitchen, and while each step of most dishes is very simple, they almost always require making ingredients to be used–layer upon layer. So you may as well make extra stock, extra sauce, and repurpose it later in the week.
On that note, I have found several new Japanese cookbooks that I adore. I’ve mentioned the fabulous Washoku before, but the new ones I am in love with are more like encyclopedias of Japanese cooking, with huge selections of traditional hot dishes, allowing you to perhaps recreate something you’ve eaten in a quality Japanese restaurant. Japanese Cooking: a Simple Art & perhaps now my all-time favorite, The Japanese Kitchen–it lacks photos, but provides great instruction and is excellent for those of us who know roughly what we want to make.
Age Dashi Tofu (Fried tofu with broth sauce)
1 10-oz block tofu; you can use firm sprouted tofu for full flavor or silken tofu for a nice play on soft-vs-crunchy
1/2 C potato starch (can sub corn starch if you must)
A lot of frying oil such as sunflower or safflower oil
2 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
Drain the tofu well and pat dry, using some firm pressure but not breaking the tofu. If using firm or extra firm tofu, wrap in paper towels and place heavy dinner plate on top, letting sit 30 minutes. Next, slice along each axis of the block and then several times more to end up with 8 even rectangles. Dredge the rectangles in potato starch , tap excess off and let sit 5 minutes while your oil heats. Fry the blocks until slightly golden, about 5 minutes and then drain on a rack or paper towels. Serve half covered in sauce with green onion on top, and the tempura sauce’s ginger or daikon.
Tempura Dipping Sauce
1 C dashi (kelp/tuna flake stock)
5 T soy sauce
3 T mirin
1 T sugar
1/2 C katsuo bushi (tuna flakes)
2 tsp grated ginger or daikon, served with the sauce
Combine all ingredients except ginger/daikon, and bring to a boil. Add the katsuo bushi and turn off the heat. Let stand 2 minutes, strain and reserve. Lasts up to 1 week in refrigerator. Serve Warm.