My F&W
quick save (...)

A Self-Guided Study of Japanese Food: Understanding Tofu

F&W’s editor, Dana Cowin, sets out to understand Japanese food traditions—but is soon impressed by how modern and trendsetting the cuisine really is.

My first lesson was tofu. My classroom was EN Japanese Brasserie, a modernist izakaya, which is a Japanese-style pub serving drinks as well as small dishes to soak up the alcohol. EN’s specialty is tofu, which the cooks in the restaurant’s open kitchen meticulously prepare every hour-and-a-half for supreme freshness. For a food that can be made with only two ingredients, soy milk and nigari (a natural coagulant), tofu can be served in an enormous variety of ways, highlighting the Japanese ingenuity with the staples of their pantry.

In my EN tofu journey, I sampled tofu in many of its different forms: deep fried (agedashi), just the skin (yuba), in a soup, in a salad and gloriously on its own. That last preparation was my favorite of them all—a scoop of warm tofu resting in a pool of its own milk.

I spooned the tofu out of a cedar box and into a bowl with a bamboo spoon. The tofu’s consistency was like a light panna cotta. I thought hard about the flavor and tried to find the whisper of soybean within the dish. For a split second, I thought I had it, then it was gone. The delicacy of Japanese flavors made me work harder to understand them. I guess I must be used to getting punched in the taste buds when I eat.

Study of Japanese Food


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Comments

Add A Comment

    Add a Comment

    See our terms
    You must be logged in to comment. or
    advertisement
    The Dish
    Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
    The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
    F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
    advertisement

    Tune in on Wednesdays at 10PM ET for Top Chef: Boston, the 12th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

    Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.