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Sukuidofu to kumiage-yuba no miso guratan / extra soft tofu and fresh tofu skin gratin with red miso

This creation is inspired by a little savory gratin we shared at an upscale izakaya pub in Osaka last winter. Red miso’s rich complexity binds and highlights all the mild key players — extra soft tofu, fresh yuba, bechamel sauce and fontina cheese. A combination of lemon zest and yuzu citron juice offers a fresh note and lightens the overall taste. Below, bechamel or white sauce is made in the microwave for simplified preparation.

254 calories (1 ramekin); 15.7 g protein; 16.0 g fat; 10.3 g carbohydrate; 9.5 g net carbs; 181 mg sodium; 24 mg cholesterol; 0.8 g fiber

<Ingredients>

(2 ramekins)
120 g sukuidofu extra soft tofu
60-70 g kumiage-yuba fresh tofu skin (75 g in photo)
15g fontina cheese
1/2 tsp aka miso red miso
1/2 tbsp dashi

For bechamel/white sauce
1 1/2 tbsp flour
10 g (slightly less than 1 tbsp) butter
100 cc milk
1/8 tsp shiokoji salted rice malt
Lemon zest (of 1/10-1/8 of a small lemon)
3-4 drops of yuzu citron juice
Black pepper, to taste (not in photo)

Olive oil (to grease ramekins; not in photo)

<Directions>
1.
Heat oven to 200 C/400 F or higher.

2.

Prepare bechamel sauce.
Sift flour with tea strainer in a microwaveable prep bowl.

Put butter in flour bowl. 

Microwave flour and butter as well as milk for 30 seconds.
Remove milk, and continue microwaving flour and butter for another 20-30 seconds until butter is soft or melted.

3.

Whisk flour and butter to blend them well.

Pour a small amount of milk, and mix well.

Pour half of remaining milk, mix well, and repeat.

4.

Microwave (without cover) for 30 seconds.

Remove, and whisk well.
Microwave again for 15-20 seconds.
Remove, and whisk again.

The sauce should be quite thick, like pancake batter (but becomes looser when cool).

5.

Add shiokoji, lemon zest, yuzu juice and black pepper, and mix well.

Bechamel sauce is ready.
Cover, and set aside.

6.

Meanwhile, mix red miso and dashi well.

7.

Grease ramekins with olive oil.
Scoop sukuidofu extra soft tofu into each ramekin, and place fresh yuba.

Drop in two-thirds of red miso mixture.

Put bechamel sauce. 

Drop in remaining red miso mixture, and top with fontina cheese.

8.

Bake until all ingredients are hot.

Brown top by switching to broil or with a torch.
 

<Notes>

  • Sukuitofu [lit. scooping tofu] is Japanese-style extra soft tofu. It is too soft to cut with a knife. If not available, Korean-style extra soft tofu works great. If that is not available either, kinugoshi (silken) soft tofu would be the second best substitute.
  • Cooking this in the oven for a long time (long to enough to brown the top) results in separation of water from tofu due to the addition of citron juice. It still tastes great, but perhaps does not look as appetizing. For this reason, I use a torch at the end.
  • Mixing in a small amount of sharper-tasting cheese, such as gryuere or parmesan, is also nice. When using them for more than an accent, you might want to adjust the amount of red miso. 
  • If you have bechamel sauce at hand, 3 tablespoons for each ramekin should be enough.
  • I use fontina cheese that contains 170 mg sodium per oz (28 g).

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