Umeboshi Scented Shira-ae (Mashed Tofu with Green Beans, Bamboo Shoot and Cheese)
The soft, rich miso and tofu mash, the fresh crunch of the vegetables, and the occasional hint of cheese, is so good together. And the fragrance of the shiso leaf and umeboshi plum coming through just makes it so delicious.
Combine the sake and mirin in a small pan, bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Let cool.
Adjust the amounts of all the flavoring ingredients to your taste.
About this much is good. Saikyo miso is a mild, creamy tasting miso. It's quite sweet so it's perfect for shira-ae. Please give it a try.
Blanch the green beans, drain and refresh in cold water. Slice the bamboo shoot thinly. Cut the konnyaku in small pieces about the same size as the other ingredients, and blanch in boiling water to get rid of the smell.
Dice the cheese.
Julienne the shiso leaves, chop the umeboshi into a paste. Even if you buy pre-roasted sesame seeds, it's important to re-toast them in a dry pan.
Grind up the sesame seeds well in a suribachi or a mortar with a pestle.
Drain the tofu, place in a microwave proof container and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 3 minutes. Put in a clean cloth and press to expel the excess moisture, but don't press too much since don't want to try it out.
Put the wrung out tofu in the suribachi or mortar, add the white miso and sesame seeds and grind up well. Put in half the umeboshi paste.
Keep tasting and adjusting as you add the flavoring ingredients and thin out the paste.
When the tofu paste reaches the consistency you like, add the green beans, bamboo shoot and konnyaku. Mix with your hands gently.
Add the remaining umeboshi paste, cheese and shiso leaves. Mix in.
Make sure you don't completely blend the umeboshi paste, cheese and shiso leaves in - you still want them to stand out in the paste, so mix them in gently!
Here, my palms are covered with umeboshi paste. Mix the cheese and shiso leaves in to blend in. You're all finished!
This isn't an overly sweet shira-ae.
So it goes well with wine, or bourbon, or whiskey.
It won't turn watery even if you make it the day before. Make a big batch and have some for breakfast too. It's loaded with sesame seeds, tofu, cheese, and fiber.
Story Behind this Recipe
Don't you feel like eating something rich-tasting even when you're dieting? This fits the bill and it's still low in calories, which is why I made it. Tofu and sesame seeds are very important for your well being. You need to cleanse your body out. Fiber is needed for that. 1 plateful of this is packed with important nutrients. It's delicious.
The flavor of umeboshi depends a lot on how salty it is, so adjust the amount to your own taste. I used a low-sodium (6%) type for this. Also, shira-ae tastes best if you don't use a food processor.