Tofu with Pork Onion Sauce
This is a pretty typical-style dish you would find in Japan at home or at an "izakaya," which is like the Japanese version of a pub.
Buy the "firm" or "extra firm" tofu for this dish. It will be much easier to cook.
"Mirin" is a sweet Japanese cooking wine. Depending on where you live, you might find mirin in the Asian food isle of your grocery store. (I live in the Pacific Northwest so a lot of Asian items are readily available.) If you don't have any readily available, you can use white wine or dry sherry instead.
Dashi is a Japanese bouillon and can be made of either bonito or kelp. It's not necessary to use, but if you have some it would add to the flavor.
I put total prep and cook time at 1 hour because I'm pretty slow. If you're a good multi-tasker, I don't think the whole process will take more than 30 minutes.
- 1 pkg tofu
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 3 - 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. mirin
- 2 Tbsp. corn starch
- 1 tsp. dashi, optional
- Drain water off of tofu. Wrap tofu in about 2 pieces of paper towel, put on microwavable plate, microwave on high for 1 minute.
- Unwrap tofu and cut thickness in half. Then cut once length-wise and three times width-wise. See photo on right for example.
- Lay out tofu pieces on dry paper towel. Sprinkle with salt. This helps to flavor the tofu, and also to drain the water off the tofu for easier cooking. Leave for at least 10 minutes.
- Chop up onion and green onion. A lot of the tops of green onion are cut off in stores around here, which is a shame because so much flavor is in the green part. It's best to use the whole of the green onions - both the green and white parts.
- Cook onions and pork in a pan until pork is cooked and onions are soft. Add soy sauce, mirin, and 1 cup water. If available, also add dashi at this time. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low.
- In a small cup or bowl, mix corn starch with 3 or 4 Tbsp. water. Pour into pork and onion mixture and stir. Sauce will thicken. If sauce is not thickening enough, turn up heat a little bit and continue stirring. When sauce is at desired thickness, it is done! Taste and add soy sauce as desired.
- Now it's time to fry the tofu. If you have a good non-stick frying pan, you only need to use 1 or 2 Tbsp. of vegetable oil. I don't have such a good frying pan, and tofu seems to stick pretty easily, so I use 3 to 4 Tbsp. of vegetable oil to fry the tofu. Put the vegetable oil in the pan and put in the pieces of tofu. Each piece of tofu should be touching the pan. Cook on medium until tofu is slightly browned. Flip tofu pieces and cook until the other side is slightly brown.
- Put several pieces of tofu on a plate, then cover with sauce. Voila! A delicious dish of tofu with pork onion sauce!