Chef Peko Shares The Aloha

Sam Choy
By Sam Choy
Wednesday - November 17, 2010
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This week we welcome back Paul Uyehara of Aloha Tofu and personal chef and food coordinator Peko Nishimura, who shares the following recipes.

DANGO JIRU (Tofu Dumpling Soup)

* 1/2 block soft Aloha Tofu
* 7 1/2 ounces shiratamako (see below)
* 1/4 pound thinly sliced pork, cut into small pieces
* 1/2 cup finely julienned carrots
* 1/2 cup finely julienned daikon
* 1/2 cup gobo sasagaki (see below)
* 1 large Aloha Tofu aburage, finely julienned
* 4 fresh shiitake mushrooms, finely julienned
* 4 cups dashi
* 5-6 tablespoons miso
* vegetable oil or sesame oil, as needed


(What is shiratamako? Shiratamako is milled sweet rice flour. It is a perfect ingredient for dango and a traditional Japanese confectionery. By combining shiratamako and soft tofu, you can create a very smooth texture.

What is gobo sasagaki? Sasagaki is a cutting method, which means shaving vegetables into small, thin strips like sasa (bamboo) leaves, and that is why it is called sasagaki. When cutting a vegetable using this sasagaki method, rotate the vegetable like sharpening a pencil. Gobo has strong bitterness, so cut gobo using this sasagaki method over a bowl of water and soak the gobo shavings in the water to remove bitterness.)

In a bowl, combine soft tofu and shiratamako, and mix well until the dough feels a little softer than your earlobe.

In a pot, place vegetable oil or sesame oil and pork, and stir to loosen up the pork pieces. Then, place the pot over medium heat, add vegetables and aburage, and quickly sauté.

Add dashi to the pot, and once it starts to boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are cooked. In the meantime, keep skimming the scum that rises to the top.

Add miso to the soup. Shape the tofu dumpling dough into desired-size balls, lightly flatten them by hand and add them to the soup.

When the tofu dumplings float to the top, they are cooked and the soup is ready to serve.

Peko’s Quick Tip:

The quantities of the vegetables listed above are only a guideline, and you can adjust depending on your preference. Garnishing with finely chopped green onions will give a colorful finishing touch. You can use vegetables of your choice (satoimo (dasheen), pumpkin, sweet potato, onions, etc.). If you choose to use more vegetables, please increase the amount of soup stock and miso. If you prefer lighter taste, you can boil dumplings separately and add them to the soup later.

RARE (NO-BAKE) CHEESECAKE

*1/2 block soft Aloha Tofu
* 8 ounces cream cheese
* 1/4 cup plain yogurt
* 1/4 cup Reddi-Wip
* 8 tablespoons sugar
* 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
* canned blueberry or cherry pie filling or strawberry jam, as needed


Drain tofu well.

Allow cream cheese to soften at room temperature, or microwave for 30 seconds to soften. Whisk cream cheese and once smooth, add plain yogurt, Reddi-Wip, sugar and lemon juice, and mix well. Then, add tofu and mix well until smooth.

Put plastic wrap over cheesecake mixture and refrigerate to chill.

Scoop cheesecake mixture into serving dishes and serve with your favorite sauce or sauces.

Peko’s Quick Tip:

Adjust the amount of sugar to your taste. Strain any lumps in cheesecake mixture and then refrigerate.

(Watch “Sam Choy’s Kitchen” Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on KHNL News 8.)

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