Koyadofu no ageyaki to renkon no horenso-an / fried freeze-dried tofu and lotus root with spinach dashi sauce

Rehydrating and frying koyadofu freeze-dried tofu results in a chewy and juicy texture, making a good contrast with crunchy lotus root. A blanket of flavorful dashi sauce brings the two ingredients together while adding a green touch of spinach. Ginger provides a zesty counter-punch to the rich taste from oil used in preparation. A nice side dish for cool days and nights.

1/2 of recipe:
160 calories; 5.2 g protein; 11.9 g fat; 7.3 g carbohydrate; 6.3 g net carbs; 100 mg sodium; 0.1 mg cholesterol; 1.0 g fiber; 267 mg potassium

<Ingredients>

1 koyadofu freeze-dried tofu (16.5 g in photo)
75 g dashi (room temperature or cooler, to rehydrate koyadofu)
2-3 cm (50-60 g) renkon lotus root (60 g in photo)
Small knob ginger (not in photo)
2-3 tsp flour (to dust rehydrated koyadofu; not in photo)
1-2 tbsp oil

For horenso-an thickened sauce
Small handful (20-25 g) spinach (19 g in photo)
80g dashi
1/4 tsp sake
1/4 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp usukuchi soy sauce
1-1 1/2 tsp katakuriko potato starch + same amount of water

<Directions>
1.

Pour dashi over koyadofu, and rehydrate.

2.

Meanwhile, blanch spinach with plenty of water.
When leaves brighten, immediately transfer to cold water to stop cooking,

Squeeze out excess water once cool, and finely chop.

Julienne or finely chop ginger.

3.

Chop lotus root into 2-3 cm, and soak in cold water for a few minutes.

Place in a microwaveable container, and microwave 20 seconds or so (no need to fully cook at this point; becoming partially translucent is enough).

Remove cover, and cool.

4.

When koyadofu is fully rehydrated, gently squeeze to remove excess liquid (1-2 tsp dashi).

Cut into small cubes, and dust with flour.

5.

In a small frying pan, heat oil. When oil becomes hot, fry koyadofu.
(There was too much oil, and excess oil was discarded after taking the photo.)

When koyadofu starts to become slightly golden, add lotus root, and saute until done.

6.

In the meantime, heat dashi, sake, mirin and usukuchi soy sauce (in pot or microwave).

Mix potato starch + water mixture well, and add to dashi mixture, 1 tsp or so at a time.

Heat until translucent, check consistency, and add more potato starch + water mixture until desired thickness is achieved.
A very loose syrup texture is recommended.

Add spinach, and mix well. 

Horenso-an sauce is ready.

7.

Serve koyadofu and lotus root in individual bowls.

Pour over horenso-an sauce, and top with ginger.
Serve hot. 

<Notes>

  • If only fibrous ginger is available, grate it, and add juice to the horenso-an sauce.
  • To fry koyadofu, using 2 tbsp oil or more would be easier to prevent koyadofu from sticking to the bottom of the pan, but less oil results in stronger taste in the final dish, as oil covers up the salty note of the sauce.
  • The flour that coats koyadofu works to catch extra sauce; koyadofu can be fried without dusting with flour, but it would taste a bit bland in the final dish.
  • Instead of spinach, any leafy green at hand works. Chopping it is also optional. Photo at right features stem section of kabu turnip leaves.
  • Usukuchi soy sauce is paler in color but tastes saltier than regular soy sauce. If only regular sauce is available, use slightly less and add a tiny amount of salt or shiokoji salted rice malt.
  • Koyadofu can be rehydrated hours or a day ahead.
  • The above nutrition figures are based on the assumption that 75% of sauce is consumed, and 45% of potassium contained in spinach is released in boiling water while blanching.
  • The koyadofu I use is made by Asahimatsu Foods and contains virtually no sodium (1.2 mg sodium per 16.5 g koyadofu).
  • Koyadofu combined with shrimp is also nice.