Recipe: Hot Tofu with Umeboshi レシピ：ホット梅干しかけ豆腐
‘Tis the season to be… taken down by colds and the flu, if you’re not careful. Especially since right about now all the bounenkai (end-of-year parties) are in full swing. With rampant viruses flying about, coupled with overeating, overdrinking and too little sleep, what’s a girl to do to stay healthy? Wearing a mask and declining a few invites is a good start, but it’s also important to make sure that you stay shipshape with the help of healthy food, with plenty of vitamins. That’s where the wonderful umeboshi (pickled plum) comes in! Often coupled with rice in bentos, this sour and salty nugget of pure brilliance is thought to aid digestion, ease fatigue (which is why it’s eaten in summer a lot too), prevent nausea andーwait for itーhelp cure hangovers! I think we have a winner! Its distinctive tart and tangy flavor isn’t for everyone (YJ isn’t fond of it), but I personally love it, and can happily eat a couple straight out of the container. (This is starting to sound similar to my case for kimchi…. ^^;)
Regardless of whether you love it or you’re just willing to put up with it for its health benefits, here’s a yummy wintertime recipe to help keep you (and me!) warm, healthy and full:
Hot Tofu with Umeboshi
Serves 2 people (side dish, light snack)
- Umeboshi (pickled plum) (2 pieces)
- Mentsuyu (dipping sauce for soba, somen etc)* (1 teaspoon)
- Ginger (1 teaspoon, or more if you prefer)
- 1 block of tofu (approx 150g)
*Note: If you can’t find mentsuyu, or you’d like something vegetarian-friendly, you can use soy sauce instead. (Mentsuyu is partly made from katsuobushi/bonito flakes, which comes from fish.) Be aware that this will make it saltierーand the umeboshi is quite salty on its own, so adjust amounts accordingly.
- 梅干し 2個
- 麺つゆ 小さじ 1
- 生姜すりおろし 小さじ 1
- 豆腐 ~150g
- Remove the pit from the umeboshi plums, and chop the flesh until it’s almost like a paste.
- Add the ginger and the mentsuyu and mix thoroughly. Put aside.
- Place the block of tofu on a plate, cover it with plastic wrap and heat for 1 1/2 minutes.*
- Remove from microwave and drain excess water.
- Take a knife and cut 3-4 slits in the tofu (don’t go all the way through!) to allow the heat to go through evenly.
- Cover the tofu with the umeboshi mixture and cover with plastic wrap.
- Heat in the microwave for about 1 minute.*
- Drain any remaining excess water and serve! (Usually by heating twice there will be no, or little excess water)
*I put the microwave on 500W as I’m worried that at higher temperatures it will heat up too fast on the outside, but still leave the inside cold. This is also one of the reasons I heat the tofu twice. (The other reason is to drain the excess water.)
You can add other toppings to this for more flavor: toasted nori, katsuobushi/bonito flakes, shallots, wakame seaweed… or even cheese! I like to keep mine simple, but this is a really versatile dish!
What are your favorite wintertime comfort foods?