Teriyaki Tofu and Hijiki Patties
Variations on these little tofu ‘burgers’ are found all over the place in Japan. The hijiki and shiitake have a lovely strong, meaty flavour, so they’re a nice way to make tofu taste a bit more flavourful and substantial.
- ServesMakes 12 patties
- Preparation Time30 mins
- Cooking Time15 mins
- 5 dried shiitake (about 12 g/½ oz)
- 10 g (½ oz) dried hijiki seaweed
- 200 ml (7 fl oz/scant 1 cup) hot water
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- ½ tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch), mixed with
- a little cold water
- 400 g (14 oz/1 block) firm cotton tofu
- 40 g (1½ oz/⅔ cup) panko, or more as needed
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 15 g (½ oz) piece of ginger root, peeled
- and finely grated
- 1 small carrot, peeled and grated
- 2 spring onions (scallions) or nira, finely sliced
- 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
- big pinch of salt and white pepper
- oil, for shallow frying (at least 2 tablespoons
Cover the shiitake and hijiki in the hot water and leave to rehydrate for 20–30 minutes. When the mushrooms are fully rehydrated and soft, drain and squeeze them out, reserving the liquid. Finely chop the mushrooms.
Combine the soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, ketchup and 2 tablespoons of the shiitake-hijiki liquid in a small saucepan. Bring to a low boil, then whisk in the cornflour slurry. Boil for a few minutes to thicken, stirring continuously, then remove from the heat.
Break up the tofu into small crumbles with your hand or a fork. Add the shiitake, hijiki, panko, garlic, ginger, carrot, spring onions or nira, sesame seeds, salt and white pepper and mix well, mashing the tofu into a kind of paste. Leave for 5 minutes or so for the panko to absorb the liquid in the mixture – it should form a sort of thick, moist, dough-like consistency. If the mixtureis too wet, add more panko. Form this mixture into 12 small patties, 7 cm (23/4 in) across and 1.5 cm (⅔ in) thick.
Pour a generous layer of oil in the bottom of a frying pan (skillet) and place on high heat. Fry the patties until deep brown on each side, then remove and transfer to a baking tray. Top each one with a spoonful of the teriyaki sauce and grill on high for a few minutes so that the glaze fuses with the patties and caramelises slightly (if you have extra sauce, you can serve it on the side as a dip).
Serve with salad, rice and miso soup for a main meal, or keep in the fridge for bento (these are delicious cold).
Extracted from Tokyo Stories: A Japanese Cookbook by Tim Anderson, Published by Hardie Grant Books, £26