Monday, July 6, 2009

Flavored Tofu with Kelp Bow-Ties

Today, I am posting my first asian style dish and I'm sort of nervous about it. You're all probably thinking: "Kelp?! Seaweed?! Yuck!" But, kelp is highly nutritious and tastes delicious if cooked properly!

Funny story, my mother freaked out when I started taking pictures while prepping the food.
Me: "Taking pictures for the blog..."
Her: "But this dish is so should not let everyone see how lazy we are..."
Me: "But that's the point, Ma. Peopl
e don't want to slave for hours trying to make a complicated dish."

Here's what you'll need:
--Kelp (I use 3 sheets dried)
--1 Package of Flavored
--2 Carrots
--Soy Sauce (or Soy Sauce substitute)
--Brown or Turbinado Sugar

How To Buy and Prep the Kelp:
I get my Kelp in dry form from a l
ocal asian grocery store. You can choose to buy already prepped ones if you want to save time. They are usually in a bucket near the produce section.

If you go for the dry option:
Everything is labeled 'dried seaweed', so make sure you're getting the packages with thick and rigid sheets instead of the flimsy, seasoned roasted seaweeds made for snacking (see picture on the right).

Now, you need to soak the dried seaweed in a pot of water until it softens. The amount of time ranges from 10-30 minutes depending on the brand you buy. I just leave it there and come back later.

After your kelp is done soaking, this is where it gets a bit slimy. Kelp has a gelling property so it'll be sticky, but I like to think of it as moisturizing. Cut the kelp into strips. (Tip: use the tip of the knife and cut parallel to the direction of growth so it doesn't crumble when
cooking) The wider the strips, the easier it'll be to tie.

Now comes the tricky part: making the tie. If you're pressed for time, I suggest you skip this step. It's super slippery and time consuming if you don't have practice. Purpose of bow-ties? Aesthetic reasons and to make it easier to pick up with chopsticks. What I do is, I pin one side down to the cutting board with my fingernail so it doesn't slip all over. It's a bit difficult at first, but you'll gradually get the hang of it. And presto! Your seaweed is ready to be incorporated into the dish.

Making the dish:
1. Prep the kelp.
2. Cut carrots. Cut the flavored tofu into cubes. (Each piece should make 8 cubes).
3. Boil a pot of water. Throw in the kelp for about 30 seconds and dump the water o
ut. This gets rid off some saltiness and the strong taste that most people dislike.
4. Pour water about 1/3 of the way into the pot. Put the carrots and tofu cubes in.
5. Add 2-3 spoonfuls of soy sauce (or your choice of soy sauce substitute...I use Bragg's, so I use 4 spoonfuls. If you use soy s
auce, you use less because it has higher sodium).
6. Bring to boil. Then, turn the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes.
7. Add a half spoonful of sugar. I use Turbinado Sugar.
8. Continue to simmer for about 15 minutes.
Taste the tofu to see if the flavor has sunk in. If not, simmer a bit longer.

Happy eating!

1 comment:

  1. I had kelp bow ties at a potluck tonight and started searching for recipes when I came home! This tutorial is awesome. Thanks for the great tips!


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