Bacon Agedashi Tofu

by arnold on November 3, 2009

David Chang will be the first to admit that both he and his Momofuku restaurants (Noodle Bar, Ssam, Ko) are overhyped and overexposed. The release of the Momofuku cookbook last month isn’t helping matters much since he’s making the rounds promoting the book around the country, and he’s actually doing book signings in the Bay Area through the weekend. I received the Momofuku cookbook a few days after Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home, and both books are the only things I’ve been reading since—aside from the Internet, of course. :)

(See EatMeDaily.com for great reviews of both books: Momofuku | Ad Hoc at Home)

Bacon Agedashi TofuBacon Agedashi Tofu, inspired by the Momofuku cookbook.

The first recipe in the Momofuku book that really got my attention was the bacon dashi. In the book, Chang says that when Noodle Bar first opened, he had a hard time finding good katsuobushi (smoked bonito) to make traditional dashi, the seaweed and fish broth that’s the foundation of Japanese cuisine. Chang started looking at other options to replicate the katsuoboshi’s smoky flavor, and good ol’ American bacon was the natural choice. Making the bacon dashi is pretty easy, and the final product looks and tastes like regular dashi but with a hint of smoky bacon flavor. It can be used in any application that calls for a regular dashi, and the first thing I thought of was one of my favorite dishes, agedashi tofu (fried tofu in broth).

For the broth, a.k.a. tentsuyu, I started by warming one cup of bacon dashi in a small sauce pan and added about three tablespoons each of shoyu (soy sauce) and mirin (sweetened rice wine). I did this to taste, but it should be salty and smoky with a hint of sweetness.

Butterfly a block of firm tofu and separate the two halves. Cut the tofu into rectangles and dry them for about 10 minutes on paper towels. Gently dredge the dried tofu in potato starch or cornstarch and fry them in 350F oil until they’re light golden brown. In a separate pan, fry up some finely chopped bacon until crispy. Chop up a stalk or two of green onions and grate some brown onions. Normally, you’d finish off agedashi tofu with grated daikon, but I didn’t have any on hand. Using onions did keep the dish a bit more on the American side and provided a similar texture to what grated daikon would have provided.

To serve, place three pieces of fried tofu in small bowl. Ladle enough sauce into the bowl so that half of the tofu is still exposed. Top with grated onion, chopped green onion and crispy bacon.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

alice November 4, 2009 at 12:33 am

Arnold, that is a stunning picture. I just want to grab it off my screen and eat it. Can’t wait to make this!

Reply

Arnold November 4, 2009 at 12:36 am

Thanks, Alice. I couldn’t believe how good it looked when I saw it on screen. I <3 my camera! :)

Reply

Omid Tavallai November 4, 2009 at 1:28 am

Niiiiice… Tell you what – you come to France with some San Jose Tofu Company tofu (god, I miss their stuff), and I’ll grab a slab of poitrine fumée cured by my butcher and we’ll have an intercontinental mouthgasm.

And no, that wasn’t a come-on. (I’d come over with the bacon but customs law prohibits that…)

Reply

Arnold November 4, 2009 at 10:27 am

Omid, I’ve never had San Jose Tofu (C buys Morinu) but I love that you revere it enough to pair up with French bacon! FWIW, we’re hoping to be in London sometime next year and a side eating trip to Paris is definitely part of the itinerary. :)

Reply

jimmy November 6, 2009 at 8:26 am

Looks awesome, can’t wait to try it!

Reply

Sean November 27, 2009 at 10:00 am

Oh. Yeah. Baby. Bring it.

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