Miso marinated tofu 豆腐の味噌漬け

japanese cake
This is a rather popular item in Izakaya but somehow I neglected to make it. One weekend morning, my wife suggested we have smoked salmon and avocado scattered sushi for breakfast!. We often have English muffin bread smeared with creme fraiche and topped with smoked salmon and poached egg for breakfast but we were out of pasteurized eggs. As long as my wife was OK with this idea, I was too. I even served miso soup with tofu, wakame sea weed and scallion. This left us with 80% of the tofu leftover. I decided this was good time to make miso marinaded tofu.

This is not really a recipe and there are so many variations including a smoked one but essentially, you remove the extra moisture from tofu, either moment (firm) 木綿豆腐 or kinu-goshi (soft) tofu 絹ごし豆腐, marinade in miso for 1 or more days. The miso mixture can be variable such as straight miso, mixture of red and white miso, and prepared miso with sugar, mirin, sake, soy sauce etc. These differences as well as the duration of marination make variations in both texture and taste to the end result. Best is to try some variations and decide which combination is best for you.

Tofu preparation: I used “firm” tofu just because this was what available (leftover). I just wrapped the tofu with paper towels and placed it on a perforated metal tray with matched bottom tray. I placed a similar shallow metal tray on the top of the tofu and weighed it down (I just used two large American-size yogurt containers (full) since they were in the refrigerator and had the right weight). I changed the paper towel after a few hours and let it sit in the refrigerator for over half a day.

Miso marinade: I do not like the end product to be too salty. I happened to have miso which was designated as rice miso or “kome-miso” 米味噌, chuukara 中辛. This means this miso is between white and red miso in terms of saltiness, not as salty as “red” but not as sweet as white or Saikyo miso (about 4 tbs), sugar (1 tsp) and mirin (I am not sure how much but about 1-2 tbs to make a pastey but not runny consistency). The kind of miso is totally up to you and you may have to experiment a bit to find your sweet spot.

I smeared the miso mixture on all sides and placed in a sealed container (Picture above). You could wrap this in plastic wrap but I did not.

I left it for 1 full day and had it as a starter for sake the next evening. I scraped off the miso marinade using the back of a knife and sliced it (The picture on the top). I smeared the miso back on the remaining tofu using the knife and put it back in a container. I served it with matsuame-zuke 松前漬 and octopus “bukkake” 蛸のぶっかけ (both bought frozen). This was a first for my wife and she really liked it. She said that if I didn’t mention it was tofu she might have thought it was cheese. The consistency is like semi-soft cheese with some nutty and slightly salty miso flavor. 

The next day, I served it with baby arugula salad dressed with fruity olive oil and Champagne vinegar  (Picture below). We had this with red wine, Louise M Martini, Napa Cab 2007, which is a decent everyday red that we like. Although this was into the second day, my miso marinade was rather mild so the flavor was not too strong or too salty. (I would not go further than 2-3 days with the marination but you could try longer). I could not say this was a particularly great pairing but it was OK, at least, the tofu was very nice and generally goes well with the red wine.

Tofu is congealed soy protein and cheese is made from coagulated mild protein. So there is similarity. Obviously they are not the same, though. My wife said, if I served this to our unsuspected guests sliced like a cheese, most will think this is a type of semi-soft cheese. I may try this sometimes to see what kid of responses we get.

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