The combination of the rich, savoury 'umami' taste of the miso topping and the soothing neutrality of the tofu works so well in this dish. It makes for a comforting, nourishing and light meal in all seasons.
For two portions, you'll need:
One pack plain tofu, drained
1 tbsp dashi miso paste (see below)
Half cup mirin (Japanese sweetened rice wine)
Half cup water
1 cup brown rice
1 tsp vegetable stock
1 spring onion
1 tbsp groundnut oil
Greens of your choice
Roasted sesame seeds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Begin by draining the tofu. Wrap it in kitchen paper and place a weight (e.g. a bowl or plate) on the top to help release the liquid.
Prepare your brown or mixed rice. I like to cook mine with a teaspoon of Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon powder. Let it simmer while you get on with everything else.
The miso topping is easy to make. Pour the half cup of water and half cup of mirin into a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add a generous tablespoon of dashi miso paste. (If you can't find dashi miso, just go for a jar of regular miso from your local supermarket). Stir and allow to thicken, similar to caramelising, so that you have a paste again at the end. This will take about 10 minutes. Be careful towards the end as it can suddenly thicken or burn.
Remove the weight and kitchen paper from the tofu and cut the long end into four and the short end into three to give you twelve chunky pieces.
Heat the groundnut oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the tofu blocks on all sides, until a golden colour - a minute or so on each side. Think of this as a meditative experience with regular pauses and a rhythmic turning of each morsel.
Once ready, spread a teaspoon of the miso-topping onto each piece of tofu, placing them all in a baking dish. Sprinkle with the spring onion. Place this in the oven while you cook your greens.
By this time your rice will be ready. When you serve it, sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds (you can actually buy these ready-roasted from a Japanese food store such as the Japan Centre, or just roast your own) for extra flavour, interest and crunch. As an alternative, you could also top it with delicate, thin strips of nori (dried seaweed).
Place your trinity of ingredients on a beautiful plate and eat mindfully and contentedly. Delicious just with a glass of water or a cup of sencha, high quality green tea. Possibly a square of dark chocolate as dessert to round it all off.