I heart tofu! I haven’t had good tofu since we were in Kailua several months ago. By ‘good’, I do not mean that ho-hum stuff in the plastic tubs of water in the produce section of grocery stores. That variety is okay in a pinch, but the fresh stuff . . . it just doesn’t get any better than that! When we were in Hawaii, we stuffed ourselves with Hawaiian tofu simply garnished with grated ginger and a splash of dark soy sauce. And we washed it down with ice-cold sake. Ridiculously simple, and unbelievably satisfying!
When we find ourselves in Seattle we always stop by the International District and our favorite Asian grocery store, Uwajimaya. We always make sure to stock up on the pantry items that are hard to find where we live, but our main objective is loading up on the fresh tofu and the fresh rice noodles. Those two things alone make the long round-trip drive totally worthwhile!
We were lucky enough to catch the rice noodles as they were delivered by the distributor (Rose Brand manufactured by the Tsue Chong Company in Seattle) and we grabbed our share of those, but we nearly struck out on our fresh tofu quest, even though it was only just past noon. We managed to snag the last two packages of fresh soybean cakes, one from Chuminh Tofu and one from Thanh Son Tofu (our current favorite). I’m still kicking myself for not making the drive over to Thanh Son Tofu and buying directly from them, but we won’t make that mistake again!
We made a feast out of our fresh tofu score and another find from Uwajimaya: seaweed, or ‘hiyashi wakame chuka’, salad.
I served the softer tofu (Thanh Son Tofu) straight from the refrigerator with grated ginger, finely chopped green onions and dark soy sauce. Easy and elegant, and oh-so-good!
We enjoyed the second tofu cake (Chuminh Tofu), also uncooked, with Korean Barbecue Sauce and Spicy Green Onion Garnish from FatFree Vegan Kitchen, but I used ground chili paste (Sambal Oelek) in place of the minced fresh chili peppers called for in both recipes. I also thickened the barbecue sauce slightly with equal parts Arrowroot powder and cold Sake (1 tablespoon of each) whisked together and then whisked into the sauce while it was re-heating.
The extra barbecue sauce was very tasty on the steamed brown rice, too. I’m looking forward to trying this sauce on grilled vegetables and even on baked or grilled tofu (if I have to resort to cooking it!). It’s wonderfully flavorful and certainly a healthier choice than the store-bought varieties.