What’s Agedashi?

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Agedashi is a popular Japanese dish made with tofu that is high in protein but can be high in fat if fried improperly. Traditionally, tofu is cut into cubes, rolled in cornstarch or potato starch, and fried. It is served with green onion, daikon, and ginger in a soy sauce broth. Agedashi can be prepared vegan and with healthier oils like canola. It is commonly found in Japanese restaurants and can be made with silken tofu and potato starch. Soybean oil is recommended for sautéing.

Agedashi is a delicious and simple tofu dish that is popular in Japan and a favorite in the Western world. The main ingredient in Agedashi is tofu, which makes the meal high in protein. Yet tofu is fried, so it can also be a high-fat dish depending on the amount and type of oil you use and your frying methods.

Traditionally, the senior guard starts by cutting the tofu into cubes. Sizes vary but most recipes suggest that cubes should be no more than 1.5 inches (3.81) long on each side. A cube that is one inch (2.54cm) smaller is a common recommendation. If the cubes are much smaller than this, they can cook too quickly and burn. Larger cubes may not heat fully in the center, so consider the recommendations above for maximum size.

The aged tofu cubes are then rolled in cornstarch or potato starch – cornstarch is usually easier to find in the US and fried, so the tofu takes on a wonderful golden brown outer crust. You can also fry diashiashi cubes, but they won’t have the same crust as the fried version.

Agedashi is usually served with green onion, slices of white radish, called daikon, and sometimes also thin strips of fresh or pickled ginger. Most people prefer ageashi served in a Japanese soy sauce broth, cooking rice wine called mirin, and a fish or vegetable broth. Alternatively, you can serve the oldashi cubes with any type of dipping sauce you like.

Vegetarians in Japan and throughout the Western world have long enjoyed ageashi, as it can be prepared in a completely vegan style. The dish can also be a healthy way to get oils into the body, especially if you choose monounsaturated oils like canola for the frying process. As with all things fried, the tofu cubes should be placed on a paper towel after cooking to absorb excess oil or they may taste greasy. Generally, the older person should be served immediately after cooking or he will start to look fatter and lose some of his crunch.

If you don’t plan to make your own Agedashi, you can find it commonly served in many Japanese restaurants, where it’s a favorite. Served chilled, it’s a wonderful protein-packed dish with lots of flavor and a variety of textures. If you really want to go authentic aged, look for silken tofu, which is most commonly found in Asian grocery stores. You can usually find potato starch in Asian grocery stores as well. Some chefs insist that to get the true flavor of Agashi, one should only saute soybean oil, which compliments tofu well.

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