My cookbook, WASHOKU: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2005) provides a solid foundation to the principles and practice of washoku (balance and harmony) in the kitchen and at table. This workshop page enables me to guide you further.  ENJOY!  

Lesson ELEVEN: Freeze-Dried Tōfu


Although freeze-drying sounds like a modern invention, it is an old-fashioned bit of technology enabled by nature. Blocks of tōfu were set out at night in frigid temperatures, then allowed to dry in the sun during the day... day after day. This process transformed highly perishable tōfu into a shelf-stable pantry item. This kitchen technology was likely developed in China though the name for the product in Japanese suggests it was the monks at Mt. Koya temple who "discovered" this. The same calligraphy used to write the name of the temple, 高野 Kōya, appears on most packages of kōya-dōfu.

Kōri-ya Tōfu
Sometimes, however, you will see the product being called kōri-ya tōfu written to suggest the process of freezing: 凍り kōri. A few classic dishes calling for freeze-dried tōfu are pictured below.

However, GRATED freeze-dried tōfu can be used in lieu of breadcrumbs to thicken and extend meat mixtures. And because soy is protein-packed yet gluten-free it can be a helpful addition to non-Asian kitchens, too. For starters, click here to DOWNLOAD the recipe for mini-burgers, pictured below on the left.



Soy-Glazed, Great GRATED Burger

GRATED freeze-dried tōfu

Meat & Vegetable Stuffed Freeze-Dried Tōfu
Simmered in a Soy-Tinged Broth
Freeze-Dried Tōfu with Carrots & Snow Peas
Simmered in a Soy-Tinged Broth

I welcome your feedback -- especially captioned photos with a brief description of your kitchen sessions when you try making the recipes above. Those interested in offering feedback, please download
a set of guidelines for submitting and displaying your work.To further teaching goals, I may post some of the feedback to this site, adding my commentary.