This is another type of Otoshi お通し small dish. I bought chives in a small plastic container, along with a few other items at our grocery. The cashier was being a bit careless and the container opened while she was ringing up. Chives spilled out all over everything. So, with restless people waiting in the line behind me, I had to rush back to the produce department and grab another package. It turns out I grabbed the wrong thing. I thought I had chives but when I got home I discovered I had “garlic chive” ニラ. We have garlic chives growing in our herb garden but it tends to be tough so, even though it is prolific, we don’t use it much. These garlic chives were very tender and flavorful. Thus, this dish.
I blanched the garlic chives for 30 seconds, then shocked them in ice cold water ringing out the excess moisture. I cut them into 1 inch lengths. Meanwhile, I grilled or toasted the abura-age 油揚げ or deep fried tofu pouch (I used a toaster oven) for 3-4 minutes until it becomes very crispy and slightly browned. I cut it into thin strips. The dressing is made simply; sesame (1 tbs) dry roasted in a frying pan for 2-3 minutes then ground coarsely in a suribachi Japanese mortar すり鉢. I added a small amount of sugar (1/2 tsp) and soy sauce (2-3 tsp) and a dash of dark sesame oil. I dressed the abura-age and garlic chive mixture and served. You have to enjoy this dish while the abura-age is still hot and crispy. A perfect starter dish for sake.