Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Shiraae with Asparagus

Shiraae is a traditional Japanese side dish.  Shiro(a) means white, and ae means mix.  The white part suggests the tofu pesto, and basically everything mixed with this pesto is called shieaae.  This dish is generally served in a small portion, using the vegetables you have at hand, such as spinach, carrots, and string beans.  Some siraae has fruits and seaweeds in it.  There is no rule for what should be mixed with the pesto, but watery vegetables, such as cucumbers and tomatoes, are not the best choices.  The tofu pesto tends to be slightly sweet, and it may be weird for you at first.  If you can appreciate this dish, you are one step closer to being a Japanese food aficionado!

Shiraae with Asparagus Print Recipe

200gfirm tofu
2 Tbspwhite sesame seeds
1 tspmiso paste
2 tspsugar


  1. Cut and discard the tough end of the asparagus stems.  Blanch them in salted water for 1 to 2 minutes.  Shock with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.  Cut diagonally into 1 to 1.5 inch length.  Set aside. 
  2. Spread the sesame seeds on to a frying pan.  Over medium heat, cook the sesame seeds, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and a few seeds start to pop.  Remove from the pan and cool down. 
  3. Squeeze the tofu over the sink to press out the excess water.  Add the tofu, sesame seeds, miso, sugar into a food processor and puree until creamy (some sesame seeds remain whole.)  Taste and season with salt.
  4. In a bowl, combine about the half amount* of the tofu paste and the asparagus.

Serves 4 to 6

*Use the remaining tofu paste with other vegetables, such as:
-spinach (boil and shock with cold water. Squeeze out the water and cut into 1 t- 1.5 inch segments.)
-carrot (cut into 1 to 1.5 inch segments and 1/3 inch wide.  Blanch them in salted water for 1 minutes.  Shock with cold water and pat dry.)
-Or, you can simply double the asparagus.