You may of heard of the Shojin ryouri, Zen Buddhist temple cuisine and goma dofu. A classic side dish a little like pan a-cotta that looks like tofu, made with ground sesame and kuzu flour, served at the beginning or end of a meal.
The very act of preparing this dish exemplifies a virtue of Zen Buddhist practices. Making the pudding from scratch requires, patience, time and attention to the task at hand. As with many forms of Zen practices like ikebana flower arranging, Shodo the art of calligraphy, Chado tea preparation and Kodo incense preparation, the aim is to rise above the self to be completely at one with what one is doing. Eating and preparing temple cuisine is a mental attitude maintaining a calm open mind, treasuring each ingredient and gratitude of the meal. The act of grinding the sesame in a suribachi into a paste to make goma dofu has a very meditative effect and I believe that making my recipe for edamame dofu has a similar focus. Instead of grinding sesame seeds you will be shelling edamame.
I first started making Japanese food as a way to focus my thoughts from anxiety and depression, while I’m cooking I try to focus on not things I cannot do, places I cannot go or things I cannot have but enjoy my time in the moment. Focusing my energy into my food to help me have a healthy, mind body and spirt.
Edamame Dofu えだまめ豆腐
You will need 120g of edamame out of their pods. If you have fresh edamame cook them first and pop them out of their pods dropping them into cold water to stop any extra cooking. In my recipe here I used 120g of frozen edamame boiled for around 4 minutes then dropped into a cold bowl of water. (Save a few whole ones for later).
Now here comes the part that takes a little time. Each edamame comes with a thin membrane you will need to slide this off.
Do this until you have finished all the edamame. Use this time to really focus on the task and try to clear your mind of all other thoughts.
Put your edamame into a blender something like the ones used for smoothies works best.
Add to this 2 cups of dashi, 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar and blend well until as smooth as possible.
Then tip out the liquid through a strainer retaining both. Add your edamame pulp back to the blender and blend again as fine as possible, finishing off by adding back the liquid again to combine.
Add to a pan 40g of kuzu root (if it comes in chunks grind it into a fine powder first. Then add a little of your liquid to make a paste then add the rest of the liquid to the pan.
Give it all a good mix and turn on the heat. Heat the edamame and kuzu liquid stirring continuously until it thickens to the consistency of thick custard.
You will then need a container to pour your edamame dofu into and another dish for it to sit in filled with ice water. I like to use my Nagashikan, a stainless steel container made in Niigata with a removable inner tray. It’s one of my favourite kitchen gadgets that I often use to make jellies and yokan with.
You can purchase these from Global Kitchen a great place for all Japanese kitchen utensils and more. If you don’t have one you can use a plastic container.
Pour out your edamame dofu into your container and chill in an ice bath.
When cool it should already be set. Cover with some plastic wrap and chill further in the fridge for a few hours. When ready take your set edamame dofu and cut it into squares.
Serve with a sweet soy sauce.
Mix soy sauce with a little sugar and heat in a pan until the sauce has dissolved, leave to cool to pour over your edamame dofu. You could decorate it with a few edamame that you saved from earlier.