I’m so very into Japanese food lately. I love the flavors and the textures of the food – and the fact that it can be so very healthy is just a bonus. One of my favorite bloggers, Emily, from The Happy Home Blog posed a question this past week about what you bring for lunch (if you head off to the office). While anything is fair game for me, especially leftovers, here’s one of my favorite ensembles – Daikon Salad & Glazed Tofu.

Daikon Salad and Glazed Tofu

Daikon Salad

(Because I didn’t know when I first went to find it, Daikon looks like a white carrot. In a regular grocery store, they’re about the size of a carrot too – but in the Japanese market I found them to be huge!) Daikon is a natural diuretic and can also cut through fats – which is why it is often served grated alongside tempura and other fried foods in a Japanese restaurant. Here it is used raw, when it is used cooked it actually becomes mild and sweet. I first heard of it in Alicia Silverstone’s book “The Kind Diet” where she uses it in some of her amazing recipes.

Ingredients:

Ingredients for Daikon Salad

  • 1 medium daikon radish, cut into ½ inch slices *see note below
  • 3 small red radishes, cut into ¼ inch slices
  • 1/8 cup cubed cucumber (optional – though I love to add this)
  • 1/8 cup small slices carrot (again, optional and again, I love to add these)
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine made from rice)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, for garnish
  1. Combine daikon and red radish (and, if using, cucumber and carrot) in a small bowl.
    Daikon salad chopped veggies
  2. In separate bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, mirin, oil and salt. Mix well.

    Mirin and Rice Vinegar
    I use these brands of Mirin and Rice Vinegar
  3. Pour dressing over radishes, set aside for at least 15 minutes before serving. It’s very important to let this sit so the veggies soak up the dressing.

    Stored Dressing
    I'll be pouring this dressing over the veggies before lunch at work.

* I am obsessed with daikon and this salad. My body actually craves it though I can hardly guess what my body must be saying when it does – it’s light and tasty and becoming a staple in my life.

Note: I also have been known to add green onion, bean sprouts and any other salad item I may have on hand.

As an alternative dressing option, I have found this brand, that I love, at the Japanese market. My incredible Japanese friend Junko (who helps me with choosing items and reading labels in the Japanese market recommended this brand as it is made in her father’s hometown in Japan.
Japanese salad dressing

That’s it…it’s that simple. I usually make enough for a couple of lunches at work.

Soy Glazed Tofu

Ingredients:

soy glazed tofu ingredients

  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  1. Drain and slice tofu, then blot dry and press (I’m really bad at leaving the tofu long enough while it’s being pressed – so my tofu always ends up a bit softer than it should be – but it still tastes good).
    slices of tofu
    tofu blotted dry

    pressing tofu
    To press the tofu, I place a paper towel then a cutting board over tofu and then our cookie jar on top of it.
  2. Arrange tofu in a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
  3. Combine soy sauce, oil, vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
    soy glazing sauce for tofu
  4. Pour hot marinade over tofu and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes – turning once halfway through.
    tofu marinating in baking dish
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the tofu for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through.
    cooked tofu

You can eat this immediately or allow it to cool and cover and refrigerate until needed.
soy glazed tofu on plateI love to eat this tofu served over rice.

Is it lunchtime yet?

Enjoy,
~Lita

Lita

5 Comments on Meatless Monday – Japanese Lunch

  1. Mike Ramsey
    October 8, 2010 at 3:38 am (6 years ago)

    I love eating tofu, but the fried one with same seasonings. I just like to eat it, a bit crispy on the outside and soft in the inside. I’m really curious with the red raddish, is it similar to beetroot? Or it’s actually a beetroot?

  2. Charlene
    October 7, 2010 at 5:50 am (6 years ago)

    I love this idea of Meatless Monday (and Japanese food as well.) As a non-meat eater, I am always looking for great, tasty recipes.

    Will definitely need to try this one!

  3. Hannah
    October 6, 2010 at 7:25 am (6 years ago)

    I tend to cook with Japanese flavors, so this sounds like my kind of meal- Yum!

  4. Miri
    September 28, 2010 at 3:54 pm (7 years ago)

    I’m on an Asian food kick, too! Just picked up tofu, coconut milk, and lemon grass for a little vegetarian dinner later. Great tip on draining the tofu — many folks don’t realize how wet it can be. It packs more flavor when you drain it before marinating.

  5. Emily @ The Happy Home
    September 27, 2010 at 10:54 am (7 years ago)

    boy howdy that looks so good!

    i think i’m heading to whole foods this week to stock up on milk-free products. can’t wait to show off the ill-gotten booty!