Yudofu: Tofu hot pot

Yudofu: Tofu hot pot


Here's the story: It's snowing like mad in Brooklyn and my wife, mother-in-law and I are stuck in the apartment waiting for my honey to begin labor. Yep, she's due any moment now -- and we're laughing that, naturally, the baby's gonna arrive smack in the middle of a major snow storm! So far, so good, but there was the little matter of lunch. We didn't feel like doing a big cooking, and we certainly weren't going out in this muck. So what to do?

Yudofu to the rescue! Yudofu is blocks of tofu simmered in hot water along with veggies, eaten with condiments like ponzu and yuzu kosho. It takes no time to make and is incredibly satisfying, healthy and delicious. I pulled out my ceramic hot pot and gathered ingredients. We cooked it on a portable butane burner set up on the dining table, and enjoyed a lovely lunch watching the snow fall.

Here's how to prepare yudofu: Fill a hot pot with water and place a 6-inch piece of kombu inside. Let the kombu sit in the water for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, assemble ingredients on a platter. I happened to have just gone to the Japanese market, so I used fresh shimeji mushrooms, trimmed; a block of silken tofu cut into 8 pieces; fresh spinach, washed well and trimmed; scallions, both green and white parts, cut on an angle: and a few reconstituted hoshiitake (dried shiitake), which have incredible flavor, sliced into bite-sized pieces. You can also use napa cabbage, shungiku (chrysanthemum leaves), fresh shiitake or other mushrooms, too. Set the platter on the dining table. Bring along, too, green yuzu kosho and yuzu ponzu, condiments I always keep handy in the fridge.

Heat the covered hot pot on the tableside burner on a medium flame, until the water begins to simmer. Now uncover, add ingredients, and simmer until the tofu is heated through, about 5 minutes. While the hot pot is cooking, pour about 1/4 cup ponzu in a small bowl and mix in a dab of yuzu kosho, to your taste. To eat, pull ingredients out of the hot pot with chopsticks and dip into the ponzu-yuzu kosho mixture. Eat in leisurely rounds, like we did, gradually adding more ingredients to the simmering liquid. A bowl of rice on the side is the perfect accompaniment. Leave the kombu in the hot pot while you eat. When you're done, save the cooking liquid -- it makes a fantastic stock for miso soup (don't worry about any little veggie bits inside). And don't forget the cooked kombu: Slice it thin and cook it with soy sauce and sugar (1:1) and a touch of mirin, to make tsukudani, which goes great with rice!

A simple, delicious lunch. Now, if only the baby would come... (My honey is SO ready.)

Posted by Harris Salat in Tofu | Permalink | Comments (9) | Email | Print

Comments (9)

Thanks Harris. And I must confess to making the same blizzard = hotpot equation, though we're eating the pork shoulder miso hotpot from your book. Good luck with the baby and I hope you don't have to get to the hospital in your snow shoes!
Good Luck Harris, Honey and MIL. I have 3 blocks of tofu in the fridge and I was going to make some mapo dofu but know and I am going to use 2 for yudofu my all time favorite meal for a warming meal - we are snowbound in Boston too. Cheers, Debra
And so ... one day later ... are you a new daddy?
What a pleasant surprise, two days after receiving one of your hot pot combos and added ingredients for xmas. (I ordered it myself for my husband and me). However, I'm left with the thought about the tableside burner you mention and which I assume is featured in the photo under the pot. Is that going to be one of your sale items? And because I am not at all familiar with Japanese ingredients and have no markets nearby where I can explore, study and try, I wonder if your box could include a list and explanation of what you include along with the lovely ceramic pot. As well as instructions for care and use of same in english. It would make the step into a new cuisine a little less daunting. Thank you.
Sounds delicious! Any news on the baby?
Hi Daniel, our little boy was born in smack in the middle of New York's recent massive snow storm (getting to the hospital is a saga worthy of a 19th century Russian novel). Aren't you glad you live in the desert? :) -- Harris
Hi Antonia, thank you for your comment. Great suggestion about the burner. I'm working on that now. I'll try to include more explanations of ingredients, or links for more info. Your hot pots will come with care instructions, which are a snap. -- Harris
Yes! An incredibly adorable little boy! -- Harris
Harris - congratulations to you and your wife! I wish you all the best. - Blaine

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