The famous Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto recently lost 40 pounds in three months. How did Morimoto manage to lose so much weight? In a Food Network Magazine interview he said that he cut calories, took walks, sweat as much as he could, limited his alcohol intake, and had his wife do the cooking at home. High-protein tofu was a big part of his new diet. His wife Keiko’s easy recipe for Mashed Tofu and Spinach Salad combines great-for-you tofu with good-for-you spinach. It’s a winning recipe that would make Popeye proud!
Mashed Tofu and Spinach Salad (Shira-Ae)
Recipe by Masaharu Morimoto
One 14-ounce package firm tofu
8 cups spinach leaves
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1½ teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 teaspoon salt
1. Drain the tofu and wrap in paper towels to absorb excess water. Puree in a food processor until smooth, then transfer to a bowl and set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Cook the spinach in the boiling water until wilted, about 2 minutes, then drain and plunge it into the ice water. Drain and squeeze out the excess water.
3. Toast the sesame seeds in a skillet over medium-low heat, tossing, until golden, about 3 minutes. Cool, then grind in a spice grinder. Stir the ground seeds, sugar, mirin, soy sauce and spinach into the tofu. Season with salt.
1. Please note that this recipe only serves 2 people. 8 cups of spinach leaves cooks down to nothing, especially since you squeeze it out after cooking it. I cooked 9 cups of spinach leaves, but after looking at the tofu-spinach ratio, I probably should have cooked 10 cups.
2. One cup of cooked unsalted spinach already has 126 mg of salt in it, so I did not add the full teaspoon of salt at the end. I only added a pinch of salt.
3. I make life easier by purchasing containers of pre-roasted sesame seeds at Asian markets. I keep these seeds in my freezer until they are needed.
4. Adding a little bit of crushed red pepper flakes would give this recipe a little kick.