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Mineoka-dofu / Mineoka-tofu / milk kudzu pudding

Often made today with cream and sugar as a dessert, this milk pudding originally was improvised as a quasi-tofu dish about 300 years ago when the Shogun, during a visit to the pastures of Mineoka, simply mentioned his desire to eat tofu. Upon hearing the Shogun’s words, a cook accompanying the Shogun made the pudding using cow’s milk and kudzu found at the pastures. Traditionally, milk is the only dairy ingredient that goes into the pudding; I mixed it with additive-free tonyu soy milk to cut back on sodium in the recipe below. This pudding contains no sweetener, but its milky taste and creamy texture are quite gratifying.      

1 serving (1/4 of Mineoka-dofu recipe, 1/2 of sauce recipe, shrimp & arugula):
113 calories; 5.7 g protein; 5.3 g fat; 10.8 g carbohydrate; 9.9 g net carbs; 105 mg sodium; 19 mg cholesterol; 0.9 g fiber


Whole recipe of Mineoka-dofu only:
388 calories; 14.4 g protein; 20.6 g fat; 37.8 g carbohydrate; 10.8 g net carbs; 85 mg sodium; 24 mg cholesterol; 2.4 g fiber

<Ingredients>
For Mineoka-dofu

(One 12 cm x 7.5 cm x 4.5 cm mold; 1 serving in top photo is 1/4 of whole recipe)
200 g milk
100 g additive-free tonyu soy milk
25 g kuzuko arrowroot starch
1 tbsp tahini or nerigoma white sesame paste

For sauce and accompanying shrimp & leafy greens

(For 2 servings)
2 shrimp in shell (34 g with heads in photo; 22 g without heads; 17 g when shelled + tails removed)
     Sake (to cook shrimp, not in photo)
Handful (approx. 20 g) leafy greens (21 g arugula in photo)
2 tbsp dashi (to marinate blanched leafy greens; not in photo)
Sauce
     3 tbsp dashi
     1/2 tsp usukuchi pale soy sauce
     1/2 tsp sake
     1/2 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp wasabi powder
     Slightly below 1/2 tsp water (to mix with wasabi powder; not in photo)

<Directions>
1.

Make Mineoka-dofu.
In a pot, put kuzuko and some milk, and mix well.

2.

Add tahini, remaining milk and tonyu soy milk, and mix well.

3.

Heat on medium low.
Keep stirring bottom with spatula until sesame mixture thickens, 5-10 minutes.

4.

When thickening, reduce heat to low and stir for another 5+ minutes, until it starts to look doughy.

5.

Wet inside of mold, and pour Mineoka-dofu mixture.
Drop mold from 4-5 cm (2 inches) a few times to let out any large air bubbles.
Flatten top surface with spatula.

Place plastic film directly on top, and smooth.
Chill in fridge until set (30+ minutes).

6.

For shrimp, devein with skewer without shelling.

Pour sake, and microwave without cover for approx. 60 seconds or so (1,000 watts),
removing and flipping a few times for even cooking. 

When 90% done (still not totally
opaque), remove from microwave, cover, and let cook with heat remaining
in shrimp themselves. 

When cool enough to touch, shell and remove
tails.

7.

Blanch leafy greens (here, baby arugula leaves are put in a small basket for easy blanching and removal).

When leaves brighten, immediately cool with cold water to stop cooking
and prevent discoloration, and squeeze out excess water well. 

Place in a
small container, pour dashi (room temperature or cooler), and marinate.

8.

powder and water.

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