Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Spinach "shira-ae"- Spinach dressed with tofu. ほうれんそうの白あえ

Spinach and tofu tossed in a sesame and miso dressing

This amazingly quick and easy dish came together with a flurry of excitement as I finally remembered to use up some left over food before it turned bad! Huzzah!

A wonderful dish to eat on a stuffy humid day, this spinach shira-ae is refreshing, light and so healthy! Once I had it made I couldn't believe that it was done so quickly and tasted so damn good!!

From living in Japan, you get used to the convenience of having this dish readily available at the deli counters in supermarkets and convenience stores. However, since returning back to Ireland I am without Life! (Literally the name of my local supermarket in Osaka! ha!)

Luckily though, the ingredients of this dish are quite easy to come across and it's always great to get creative in the kitchen. I have definitely been gone for too long and it feels good to stretch my cooking muscles again!

So if you are feeling peckish and are in need of something hearty and healthy, this is the dish for you!

Spinach "shira-ae" - Serves 4

1 pack of soft tofu- around 300-320g (I used Unicurd Yakko Tofu)
250g fresh spinach leaves
2 tbsp sesame seeds, roasted or 2 tbsp of sesame paste/tahini
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp miso paste
salt- to taste

1. Wrap the tofu in some kitchen paper to remove any excess water. For this recipe we want to have the ingredients as dry as possible.

2. Boil a pot of water and blanch the spinach leaves in boiling water for 2 minutes. 
Drain and dunk the leaves in to cold water or run some cold water over them. This stops the cooking process and will prevent our spinach from losing its gorgeous rich green colour.

Squeeze out as much excess water as possible.

3. Lets toast some sesame seeds! Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the sesame seeds. Swirl the pan continuously to avoid burning them. They tend to have an overly strong taste if they get a bit over done so keep an eye out!

Just in the pan!

Lovely golden and aromatic sesame seeds!

4. Let's make the paste that will bind this all together in flavour! 
Once the sesame seeds are roasted, tip them into a suribachi (すり鉢), a Japanese style mortar and pestle. A regular mortar and pestle will also work well in this case.

The grooves allow for ingredients to be ground very finely

Grind the sesame seeds until the are almost completely ground up. We don't want it too fine as it adds a lovely texture to the dish.

Add the soy sauce, miso and sugar and mix thoroughly.

5. Unwrap the tofu and crumble it into the sesame miso paste. Stir until the tofu has crumbled and mixed evenly with the paste.

6. Toss the spinach in the tofu dressing and mix till coated. Add some salt and extra seasoning to taste.

7. Divide between 4 bowls and serve as a light lunch or as a side dish. Either way enjoy the refreshing combination of tofu, spinach and the nutty sesame!

いただきます!! Enjoy!


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  3. Very informative ! This dish looks super healthy and tasty .
    We also explore different Japanese restaurants and share our experiences via youtube videos.

  4. It's look like nice and tasty dish. Thanks for sharing this informative article.