[From June Issue 2010]

Ingredients [Serves 2]

  • 1 block (200g) atsu-age
  • 1 tsp potato starch

<minced meat stuffing>

  • 60g minced chicken
  • 10 cm green onion (finely chopped)
  • (A) 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ginger sauce
  • 1 tbsp beaten egg

<cooking broth>

  • 1 cup stock (1 tsp bonito and seaweed stock powder/commercially prepared)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sweet cooking rice wine
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • a pinch of salt
  • 40g field mustard
  • Inrou: A small, wooden case often tied to the waist, inrou was traditionally used to carry around small items such as personal stamps (inkan) and medicine. Inrou also refers to a dish where one ingredient is hollowed out and stuffed with other ingredients.
  • Atsu-age: This is thick, deep-fried tofu, also called nama-age (raw and deep-fried) because its center remains uncooked. Atsu-age is similar but different to abura-age in that it is thin and deep fried instead (also referred to as usu-age.)

1. Pour boiling water over the atsu-age to rinse off any excess oil. Cut the block in half, then cut around the inside of each piece leaving 5 to 6 mm along the edges. Scoop out the atsu-age making a pocket.

2. Lightly mash the scooped out tofu then thoroughly mix it in a bowl with minced meat, green onions and part (A). Divide that mixture in two. Using a strainer, sprinkle half of the potato starch along the insides of the atsu-age, then spoon the tofu/meat stuffing into the pocket, sprinkling the remaining potato starch over it.

3. Boil water then cook the field mustard for approximately 1 minute. Once cooked, immediately immerse them in a bowl of cold water for another minute to brighten their green color. Remove, align the stalks and wring out the water, then cut in two.

4. In a pot mix together all the cooking broth ingredients then add the atsu-age. Cover, using an otoshi-buta (small wooden lid), and cook over a low-medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, basting occasionally. Remove from heat when only a thin layer of broth is left.

5. Diagonally cut the atsu-age in half, then arrange them in a slightly deep dish. Garnish with the field mustard at the front and pour the remaining broth over top and serve.

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