Saturday, October 2
I wonder how many time I have mentioned this, but I hate deep-frying. Okay, just to make sure that you know. It is usually a minor thing, but there are things that I do crave for sometimes (like doughnuts), and this time it was agedashi-dofu, or crispy fried tofu cubes (I was mildly impressed that Wikipedia has an entry for this not-so-famous Japanese dish, and basically what you read here is what you get).
The other day I was browsing around websites and blogs I came across a topic about making agedashi-dofu without deep-frying. The concept is, like a lot of other alternative ways to deep-fry, just frying tofu in a smaller amount of oil than for deep-frying; this will have the same effect as deep-frying only on the surface of the ingredients and will not cook them thoroughly as they are not entirely immersed in the oil, but for things like tofu that doesn't need to cook thoroughly, this will be enough. That's a fantastic idea, I thought, and of course decided to try that out myself.
We'd definitely use potato starch to dust tofu cubes, but today I used corn starch, and it seemed to have worked fine. While Since I only made a few using leftover tofu, I wanted to add something along them, so made shiso-tempura (or something like it) as well. Somehow, making tempura of shiso leaves made me feel like that I was really doing deep-frying, probably because of the smell of tempura batter fried in a lot of oil... this always gives me almost heartburn, before even actually eating the stuff I am cooking. I wished I hadn't done this at all.
But once I served agedashi-dofu with ponzu, or soy-sauce-based sauce flavored with citrus juice, and garnished with a bit of grated fresh ginger, chopped spring onions and Japanese sansho pepper, I found myself having wolfed everything down with freshly cooked Japanese rice.
It would have been even better if the tofu had been softer (I usually like firm tofu better, but for this particular dish softer kinds work better) and there had been daikon-oroshi, or finely grated daikon radish, but Oh that was so much of a taste of home, really.