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.
(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.
- 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
- Combine daikon and red radish (and, if using, cucumber and carrot) in a small bowl.
- In separate bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, mirin, oil and salt. Mix well.
- 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.
* 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.
That’s it…it’s that simple. I usually make enough for a couple of lunches at work.
Soy Glazed Tofu
- 1 pound extra-firm tofu
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 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).
- Arrange tofu in a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
- Combine soy sauce, oil, vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Pour hot marinade over tofu and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes – turning once halfway through.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the tofu for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through.
You can eat this immediately or allow it to cool and cover and refrigerate until needed.
I love to eat this tofu served over rice.
Is it lunchtime yet?