Sesame & Yuzu Tofu with Samphire Salad
Experimenting with flavours. Sometimes a super simple dish can have the most sophisticated combination of flavours. Spicy, citrusy and salty, it combines just a handful of ingredients, each with a very distinctive flavour, but all coming together in perfect harmony.
The secret ingredient is Yuzu Kosho - a Japanese paste made from fresh chillies (like green Thai chillies) then fermented with salt along with zest and juice from yuzu, a tart and fragrant citrus fruit that grows in Japan and other parts of East Asia.
Samphire - a plant that grows in salt water with vibrant green fleshy stalks and finger-like leaves - goes wonderfully with the grilled tofu. It has a distinctively crisp and salty flavour that resembles that of seaweed and as such I thought it would go particularly well in this Japanese-inspired dish. Samphire grows abundantly in the UK and all over Europe and is usually found at the fish counter in supermarkets.
1 block extra-firm tofu
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp yuzukosho
Sesame seeds and nori seaweed to garnish
Cube tofu and quickly grill on a non-stick pan until browned on all sides. (I do not add any oil to this)
Transfer tofu to a bowl and season with 1 tbsp of sesame oil, soy sauce and yuzukosho. Let tofu marinate in this vinaigrette for an hour to develop flavour.
Wash samphire thoroughly to remove any sand or dirt. Blanch or steam in boiling water for 2 mins, then cool in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process.
Season samphire with the remaining sesame oil and add to the marinated tofu. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and nori seaweed.
This salad is amazing on its own but for a complete meal, you can have it with a small bowl of short-grain brown rice, like we did.
NOTE: didn't add any salt in this recipe. Samphire is really salty on its own, and there's additional salt in soy and yuzukosho.