Otokomae tofu 男前豆腐

japanese cake

The kind of Japanese dishes I can make in the U.S. is really driven by what ingredients are available.  I may have lamented the fact that the tofu we could get here was not really good especially the kind found in the supermarket. One of the Kyoto tofu makers called “Kyozen-an” 京禅庵 built a factory in New Jersey some years ago and their tofu was pretty good but after the incidence of salmonella contamination in their bean sprout products and failing FDA inspection, their tofu is no longer available in our near-by Japanese grocery store. Last weekend, when I was there, however, I found another Kyoto tofu called “Otokomae tofu” 男前豆腐. Sometime ago, I read about this tofu maker in Kyoto foodie. 

So, without hesitation, I bought one. It came in a very un-traditional shaped container (shaped like a surf board) and the printing on the front said something like “Blowing in the wind tofu maker, Johnny”. “Johnny” is supposedly the nick name of the president of the company, Shingo Ito. I also noticed that the bar code on the lower right is shaped like a wave (tune 90 degree anti-clock wise) with a surfer on it (You will find a close up image at Kyoto foodie). It also states that it contains Hokkaido daizu 大豆 soy bean and natural coagulant (nigari にがり) from Okinawan sea water.

In any case, I figured that this could not be bad. I also thought that  this type of tofu was best eaten as is. I scooped up the tofu into glass bowls. Instead of my usual condiments for cold tofu, I decided to go with the simplest way to really enjoy the flavor of tofu.

As you can see below image, I served this tofu with green tea salt-obviously, the green one on the right and “Yukari” ゆかり salt – red one on the left – which is dried red perilla and salt, by-products of making picked plum or “umeboshi” 梅干し.

Most Westerners think tofu does not have any taste. Actually many supermarket varieties even have some unpleasent smell and taste. This tofu has a real nice flavor of soy beans and unctious creamy texture. We just sprinkled either green or red salt and really enjoyed this tofu. Hope I can get this next time I go to this Japanese grocery store (the only such store left in the neighbourhood).

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