Chow Bella

Yudofu-Tofu Hot Pot

This week we felt like something nourishing and comforting, some kind of soup. Wanting to eat light, we strayed from our usual go to meatless recipes with a combination of beans and rice. Our thoughts turned to Asian style hot pots, found in Chinese, Thai and Japanese cuisine. But we wanted a quick meal, with simple ingredients that wouldn't require a long cooking time.

Yudofu, a Japanese dish, in its simplest form is made from a Kombu (kelp) broth and tofu. It is easily fortified with vegetables, mushrooms, and noodles. For an authentic tofu based hot pot experience, the broth is prepared in a donabe (ceramic pot), brought to the table and placed on a portable burner. Tofu is cut and placed into the broth until warmed through. Each person places their choice of additional ingredients into the pot to cook and then fills their bowl. Small bowls for the sauce sit on the side for tofu dipping.

Yudofu recipe and ingredient tips after the jump

In Japan, Yodufu, with simply the broth and tofu, is often served for breakfast or lunch. We were after a light and nutricious dinner on a cool night. We prepared our Yudofu stove top, adding all our ingredients and serving straight from the stockpot.

Yudofu-serves 4
8 cups water
2-6 inch pieces of Kombu (dried kelp), broken into pieces
4-6 inch pieces of Wakame (dried seaweed)-optional
1 small head Napa cabbage, ribs removed and chopped
8 baby Bok choy, cleaned and chopped-leave small leaves whole
6 oz Enoki mushrooms
8 Shitake mushrooms
1 block of silken or firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes
Rice noodles-from package if fresh, re-hydrated if dried
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Bonito shavings to sprinkle
Ginger, grated
Cilantro leaves

Substitute Kombu with Dashi (seafood stock- usually contains MSG, available in a dried concentrate) for broth
Add or switch out the bok choy and Napa cabbage with other green vegetables-baby spinach, snow peas, mizuna (a Japanese salad green) or leeks.
Choose from a variety of fresh or re-hydrated dried mushrooms.
Look for fresh tofu at Asian markets or tofu labeled non-genetically modified soy
Fresh rice noodles are available in refrigerator case at Asian markets, if using dried, re-hydrate in hot water before adding to stock

1. In a large stockpot, heat the water to a boil. Add the Kombu, turn the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Alternatively, if using dried concentrated Dashi, add 2 teaspoons to the hot water and stir until Dashi dissolves, then proceed
2. Remove Kombu from the pot and set aside
3. Add Wakame and simmer until soft
4. Add tofu pieces
5. Add Napa cabbage and bok choy
6. Add mushrooms
7. Add rice noodles
8. Simmer until all ingredients are warmed through and greens are slightly wilted
9. Ladle into a bowl, add garnishes and serve with dipping sauce on the side

Dipping sauce
1 cup Dashi stock or vegetable broth
¼ cup brewed soy sauce
1 and ½ teaspoons mirin
Heat ingredients together in a small saucepan, simmer 5 minutes

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