Seared Spicy Tofu & Vegetables

Togarashi, the Japanese word for “chiles,” is a group of condiments always including chiles that bring out the clean, simple flavors of Japanese food. Shichimi togarashi is also called seven spice (shichi is “seven” in Japanese), because seven ingredients are generally used. It works well with fatty foods such as unagi (broiled eel), tempuras, shabu shabu (small bits of food cooked in rich broth), noodle dishes, and yakitori (grilled dishes). Nanami togarashi is a close cousin, with a slightly different proportion of ingredients emphasizing citrus zest. If you don’t want to make your own seasoning, you can find this on Amazon, online from companies such as The Spice House, or your local 99 Ranch Market / Super King in Claremont. I got this idea from The Lab, a restaurant at University of Southern California.

Makes: About 1/2 cup

INGREDIENTS For Seasoning:
  • 2 tablespoons sansho (or 1 tablespoon black peppercorns)
  • 1 tablespoon dried tangerine peel
  • 1 tablespoon ground red chile pepper
  • 2 teaspoons flaked nori
  • 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons white poppy seeds or black cannabis seeds
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

INGREDIENTS for vegetables and tofu:

4 Tofu firm blocks from Costco

1 Eggplant, sliced into rounds

1/3 cup Red onion, diced

1 head of Broccoli, cut off  stems and steam

Olive Oil

To make togarashi:
Combine 2 tablespoons sansho (or 1 tablespoon black peppercorns), 1 tablespoon dried tangerine peel, 1 tablespoon ground red chile pepper, 2 teaspoons flaked nori, 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds, 2 teaspoons white poppy seeds or black cannabis seeds, and 2 teaspoons minced garlic. Grind together to a chunky consistency. Store refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 month.
To make seared tofu:
If you want to use Togarashi for seared tofu, you should add a light amount of Mae Ploy, soy sauce, sprinkle a small amount of salt/pepper and as much togarashi seasoning as you desire. Be careful it is quite spicy. I added a ton as I like the spice. In a cast iron skillet on high heat, sear all sides of the tofu until the outside of the tofu gets a crispy togarashi crust. We also use yellowfin tuna or ono fish. You can use this same technique for the eggplant.  
Steam broccoli and in a pan you can combine sautéed onion and broccoli. Serve on top of steamed white rice, jasmine rice, or you can serve it with tofu and veggies only. Low sodium soy sauce on the side.

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