Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa is a celebrity chef and restaurateur known for his fusion cuisine blending traditional Japanese dishes with South American ingredients. In 2012, he released “Nobu’s Vegetarian Cookbook” which is filled with inspiring and beautiful recipes. According to Nobu: “Common garden vegetables might not seem like much compared to rare delicacies, but fresh produce right from your local soil and climate can be truly delicious.” Well said, Nobu!
I have adapted Nobu’s Shiitake Mushroom and Mashed Tofu Croquettes recipe, substituting deep-fried yuba (tofu skin) for inari age (seasoned bean curd pouches). The result is surprisingly well-balanced: creamy mushroom filling inside sweet pouches, topped with the spicy ginger sauce. Even my picky daughter loved these pouches!
Note: you will need to stock up on some Japanese pantry items from your local Asian grocery store: dashi, mirin, soy sauce. The good news is that once you have them, you will be set for lots of Japanese recipes!
- 1 block soft or medium tofu, cut into small cubes
- 10 fresh shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, finely choppped
- 1 cup green beans, finely chopped
- 1 package / 10 pouches inari age
- 1 bunch chives, blanched
- 1/4 cup Dashi Stock
- 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tsp mirin
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- Simmer the tofu in a small pot of water for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander or sieve for 5 minutes, then press through sieve (or mix into a food processor) until smooth.
- In a sauce pan, place the tofu purée, shiitake, carrot and green beans over low-medium heat and cook until vegetables are soft and some of the liquid is gone, about 10 minutes. Stir constantly. Remove from heat.
- Carefully stuff the tofu mixture into the inari age pockets, using a small spoon or by hand. Push the filling down into the bottom of each pocket. Fill each pocket to the brim, taking care not to tear the pockets. (Optionally, for a sleeker presentation, tie each pocket with a chive.)
- To make sauce, combine the ingredients into a small bowl and serve alongside the pockets.
Image: junefoo via Flickr