Tag Archives: shiso

Tofu true love: Hiyayakko

8 Dec

Love of pure heart of tofu exist by name, Hiyayakko.

Best dishes for preparation by person like a topping in many variety

and pure taste of the real tofu.


Hiyayakko with natto
Hiyayakko with natto (fermented soy beans)

People are suspicious of tofu. And if they live outside of Asia, I don’t blame them. There is one thing that really bothers me about tofu in North America. It’s gross. I mean, I’ll eat it, and maybe even enjoy it… but I don’t consider it tofu. Here, soy bean curd is used as a meat substitute, whereas in Japan, tofu – soft, smooth, and rich with a mellow bean flavour – is enjoyed for it’s texture and delicate qualities. It’s eaten boiled, simmered, grilled, fried, as a drink and as a dessert custard. There are multiple course meals based around tofu and all its glory. It’s delicious. And if you really like tofu? You get raw, and top it.

Ingredients for Hiyayakko (per serving)

  • Chilled soft (silken) tofu. For this dish, it’s worth going to the Asian market for the real deal. If you can’t find soft tofu, do not substitute this with medium or firm tofu. Simply abort the mission until you find the good stuff.
  • Garnish of choice (see below for some suggestions)
  • Soy sauce or ponzu sauce (available at Japanese markets and many grocery stores)

How to make Hiyayakko:

  1. Carefully slide a single serving size of tofu onto a small side plate (first drain the water out of the package and cut the typical “square” of tofu into roughly 4 equal servings).  If you’d like, cut a grid into each serving, resulting in 4 or 6 bite-sized cubes.
  2. Top with your favourite garnish (see “Variations” section below)
  3. Pour on a little soy sauce or ponzu sauce to taste, adding wasabi paste if you like the kick.
  4. To eat, roll each cube in the sauce and enjoy with a little pile of the topping. YUM!

Variations for Hiyayakko toppings:

Katsuo-bushi (shaved bonito) and green onion

  • Sprinkle some katsuo-bushi on the tofu, and top with a little finely sliced green onion.
  • Serve with soy sauce and wasabi, if you like

Natto and green onion (pictured above)

  • Vigorously stir purchased natto (fermented soy beans – very stinky!) and pour over tofu.
  • Top with thinly sliced green onion.

Umeboshi and shiso with ponzu sauce (pictured below)

  • Finely slice shiso herb and place on tofu
  • Pit a couple of umeboshi and chop finely, until it becomes a paste. Place a dollop on top of the shiso nest, or place on the side to mix in with the ponzu (as you would wasabi in soy sauce)
  • Pour over a little ponzu, for dipping, to create a citrusy, fresh dish

Katsuo-bushi (shaved bonito) and white onion

  • Slice fresh white onion into paper thin slices, and soak in ice-cold water for at least 30 minutes (better to do this for an hour or more). Change the water a few times for best effect.
  • Drain and spin or pat onions dry, and make a beautiful pile on top of the tofu.
  • Sprinkle liberally with katsuo-bushi flakes
  • Serve with soy sauce


Hiyayakko with shiso and ume

Hiyayakko with shiso (perilla) herb and ume (sour plum) paste

Happy forking!


Wahoo! Mentaiko Pasta!

22 Jul

Feeling “pop!” of salty, small balls in mouth is always delight

Especially with accompaniment of noodle

Mixes best with the creamy sauce to make milder flavour

Let’s enjoying mentaiko with each other!

Wahoo Mentaiko Pasta

Wahoo! Mentaiko Pasta

The Japanese often combine mentaiko (spiced Haddock roe) with Japanese mayonnaise, butter, or cream to subdue the strong flavour of the spiced haddock roe. Because of its strong flavour, a little goes a long way to spice up carbs like white rice, bread, and the below pasta recipe, one of the most popular wa-fu (Japanese style) pasta sauces.

Mentaiko, outside of Japan will likely be in the freezer section of select Japanese or Asian food marts (available in Vancouver at the downtown Korean supermarket H-Mart on Robson at Seymour). Definitely not appealing at first glance – the row come in the original egg sac, taken straight from the fish – this treat is worth closing your eyes and taking the leap of faith. Salty, crunchy and spicy to the tongue, mentaiko pays you back (and then some) for your courage.


fresh mentaiko

Give it a try – I think you’ll say wahoo! too.

Ingredients for Wahoo! Mentaiko Pasta

  • Enough dried spaghetti for 4
  • One egg-sac of mentaiko
  • About 1/3 cup jako (baby sardines) – optional
  • Approx.  1- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Approx. 3 – 4 Tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
  • Approx. 2 Tbsp butter (or olive oil – butter will give a milder flavour to the dish)
  • Garnish: thinly sliced shiso herb and/or dried nori seaweed

How to make Wahoo! Mentaiko Pasta

  1. Defrost the mentaiko overnight in the fridge. Once fully defrosted…
  2. 2. Boil the spaghetti in plenty of water. Just before the spaghetti is ready, pre-heat a large frying pan to medium heat. Once cooked al-dente, drain the spaghetti and set aside.
  3. Once the frying pan is hot, add the butter or oil, mentaiko, and briefly sauté until the butter is fully melted (about 20 – 30 seconds).
  4. Add the spaghetti and toss with soy sauce and mayonnaise, adjusting the amounts of each to your taste. This should only take about one minute.
  5. Serve while hot with the garnish(es) of your choice.

Let’s Forking with spicy roe!