TOFU STEAK, PINE NUT SAUCE

From the Feature: 

Chef Hiroyuki Kurosu
The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo

Tofu steak, pine nut sauce
Under the influence of Buddhism, Japan has been wholly vegetarian for centuries at a time, and the tradition of using tofu as a meal’s main protein persists. Chef Kurosu gently fries his tofu, and then in the last minute of cooking, he adds chopped pine nuts, shiso leaf, grated vegetables and a soy-mirin mix to create a sauce. Again, the cooked dish is finished with raw garnishes: julienned peppers and leeks and dried bonito flakes.
Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 2 cotton (hard) tofu
  • 4 watercress stems
  • 4 red/yellow pepper strips
  • 1 leek, julienne
  • TK starch
  • unsalted butter or olive oil
  • dried bonito flakes to garnish

Pine nut sauce:
  • 1.5 ounces (40 grams) pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoons sake
  • 2 ounces (60 grams) grated onion
  • 1.5 ounces (40 grams) grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup (60 cc) strong soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 3/4 ounces (50 grams) sugar
  • 5 oba leaves (Japanese basil)
  • 2 tablespoons mirin

Cooking Instructions
Leave tofu on a strainer for a while to drain off the water. Chop oba leaves and pine nuts roughly. Mix pine nuts and oba leaves with all seasonings and grated vegetables for pine nut sauce. Cut tofu in half. Coat tofu surface with starch. Heat butter or olive oil in frying pan and sauté tofu until the surface becomes golden brown and crispy. Add sauce from step 4 and bring to boil. Cut the fried tofu into four 4 equal slices. Place tofu on a plate, pour sauce and put bonito flakes, red/yellow pepper strips, leek and watercress on top.