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This is a past article published in Hiragana Times. Each Japanese paragraph is followed by its English translation or vise versa, and furigana are placed above each kanji to make Japanese study even easier. [Magazine Sample] [Subscription Page]

Atsu-age no Inrou-ni (Stuffed Deep-fried Thick Tofu)

[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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