Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday: Cabbage and Tofu

Green cabbage and tofu cooked in mirin-shiitake-soy sauce, on rice.

We confess that this humble Japanese dish sustained us through many desperate veggie-less winters, before we discovered the world of winter CSAs. Now that we aren't horribly sick of it, it's nice to have from time to time.

This was a standby of ours primarily because cabbage is one of the few vegetables that can be found in decent condition in almost any grocery store, and the strong flavors of mirin (a Japanese sweet cooking wine), soy sauce, and shiitake give the dish enough interest to make it a satisfying one-pot meal.

For any of our dear readers who are starting to crave something green, here is our version of the recipe, adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East:

Cabbage and Tofu

3 large dried shiitake mushrooms
1 package (14 oz.) firm or extra-firm tofu
1 small-to-medium cabbage (approx. 2 lbs, but doesn't have to be exact)
4 tbsp peanut oil (or other clear oil)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp mirin
4 tsp Japanese soy sauce

1. Soak mushrooms in 3/4 c hot water while you prepare the other ingredients.

2. Press the tofu to remove excess moisture. This can be done by wrapping the tofu in paper towels and resting something heavy, like a plate, on top.

3. Remove cabbage core and slice into shreds, about 1/4 inch wide.

4. Remove mushrooms from liquid, discard stems, and slice the caps into strips.

5. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot (or wok, if you have one) over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the cabbage and mushrooms. (Depending on the size of the pot, you might have to add cabbage gradually.) Stir and fry for a few minutes until cabbage wilts.

6. Turn heat down to medium and crumble tofu into the pot using your hands. Also add the salt, soy sauce, and mirin. Stir and fry for another 4 - 5 minutes.

Serve over rice.

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