"I love tofu" is a seldom-uttered phrase. But to those who frown upon the gelatinous block of coagulated soy juice, I say to you: Good agedashi tofu can turn that frown upside down. Yeah, I just went there.
A recent trip to Zushi on Memorial reminded me of the simple, savory pleasures that even a small bowl of well-done agedashi tofu can deliver. At its finest, the dish marries textures and flavors to create something much more complex than the sum of its parts. It's not easy to master, but Zushi gets it right.
The ivory rectangles are coated in a light-as-air batter of cornstarch and fried just so, creating a perfect barrier around the silken, mousse-like tofu. It's a study in textures.
This textural wonder sits in a tentsuyu broth consisting of dashi, which is a mild fish stock, and mirin, a sweet rice wine and soy sauce, along with scallions and flakes of the paper-thin smoked and dried fish called bonito. Smoky, savory, sweet, and salty, the sauce is dynamic without overwhelming the dish.
In addition to Zushi's version — which is now at the top of my agedashi list — are the variations at Kata Robata, Sushi Miyagi and Aka Sushi. Now go forth and broaden your tofu horizons.