Simple and refreshing hiyayakko is a quintessential summer dish in Japan. I can understand why: it takes minutes to make, doesn't require the stove or the oven, and is one of the best ways to appreciate the subtle flavor of fresh tofu.
The dish is made by topping a small block of tofu with a drizzle of soy sauce and a sprinkling of chopped herbs, ginger or other toppings. Either firm or soft tofu can be used; firm is easier to pick up with chopsticks, but I like the smooth texture of kinugoshi (silken) tofu. Freshly-made tofu is especially good prepared this way.
Traditional toppings include grated ginger, bonito flakes, shredded shiso leaves, chopped green onion and sesame seeds, but the options are endless. Any topping that lends some flavor without completely masking the subtlety of tofu is fair game.
Hiyayakko (Japanese Cold Tofu)
Makes 2 servings
1 block of silken or firm tofu
2-3 teaspoons soy sauce
Toppings of your choice (chopped scallion, grated ginger, sesame seeds, etc.)
Drain the water from the tofu. Cut the block in half and, optionally, into ½-inch cubes. Put each serving in a small bowl and drizzle with 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons of soy sauce, or to taste. Pile on the toppings of your choice. Serve immediately.
Related: Ingredient Spotlight: Tofu
(Image: Flickr member [cipher] licensed under Creative Commons)