Friday, June 8, 2012

Washoku is Cool!

What's washoku, you ask? It's Japanese cooking, built upon traditional methods and aesthetics. While this is not, strictly speaking, a dish I've had in Japan, it's inspired by elements of washoku.

In the summer, there are many dishes that are made to cool off. While there is a philosophy that eating hot foods in summer is actually good -- it makes one sweat and cools through this method -- there is also a delight in eating cold or cooling foods.

This dish is eaten more or less at room temperature, but it can easily be cooled in the refrigerator if you prefer a colder dish. If you haven't tried these foods cool or cold, the time is right! They're super-refreshing and totally delicious.

Norinori Tofu Noodles


1 block firm or extra firm tofu, pressed
1 bunch wheat noodles
splash sesame oil
1/2 spoon miso
1-2 spoons water
1 spoon soy sauce
1-2 spring onions

to taste:

norikomi furikake
garlic powder
ginger powder
shichimi togarashi

1) Take the pressed block of tofu and cut it into cubes. Set aside.

2) Cook the noodles until just al dente. Rinse thoroughly in colander with cold water.

3) Add dash of sesame oil and stir thoroughly to coat the noodles. Then add tofu cubes and stir to coat again.

4) Sprinkle garlic powder and ginger on the mixture, then carefully stir again.

5) Top with norikomi furikake and shichimi togarashi, and slice the spring onion on top.

6) Place the miso and water in a small jar, seal it, and shake until well-blended. Add the soy sauce and shake again, to blend, then place in a sauce dish.

7) Serve cool and dip the noodles and tofu in the sauce. Refreshing!

Tips and Such

- If you don't have norikomi furikake, just shred some nori (a type of seaweed) with black and white sesame seed, a little salt, and a little sugar. That's basically all it is! Or you could even just use the nori and sesame seed.

- If you don't have shichimi togarashi, any hot pepper will do. Even cayenne powder will give it a nice boost!

- For cooler food, refrigerate the serving dish and then take it out and serve up the food just before eating. It'll stay cooler! You can also mix up the noodles, tofu, oil, garlic, and ginger and refrigerate all of it, then add the last toppings just before serving.

- If you want to avoid cooking altogether, you could always get some tofu noodles or something like that and throw it all together without having to heat up anything!

This is a dish you're sure to like on a hot summer's day! The appeal of a dish like this is in its avoidance of any sort of cooking, whilst simultaneously bringing lovely accents to simple, satisfying flavours. It's cool, it's filling and fulfilling...what more could you want when it's hot outside?

I hope you'll enjoy this. It should put you in good spirits, hence the name: norinori!

};) Dhiar <3

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