Fried tofu and arame make a delicious combination. The addition of watercress offers fresh taste and eye appeal.
8-ounce block tofu
3 tablespoons arrowroot
Sesame or other light vegetable oil for deep frying
1 cup dried arame
Water to cover arame
1 tablespoon mirin
1/2 tablespoon shoyu
2 bunches watercress, cut into 1-inch lengths
To remove excess moisture, wrap tofu in a clean, dry kitchen towel and place on a wooden cutting board. Place a 2-3 pound weight on top and leave 20-30 minutes. Uncover tofu, cut crosswise into 1-inch slices, then cut slices into 3-inch cubes. Roll tofu cubes in arrowroot to lightly coat all surfaces. In a small, deep pot, heat 2 inches oil to 350°F. Add several pieces of tofu (do not overcrowd pot) and fry until golden brown. (Remove all pieces from one batch before adding more tofu.) Drain fried tofu on absorbent paper towel.
Rinse arame quickly under cold water and soak 5-7 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking water, and rinse again. Place arame in a pot and add soaking water (discarding any sediment). If needed, add fresh water to almost cover arame. Bring to a boil. Add mirin. Cover pot, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add shoyu and fried tofu. Cook until most liquid has evaporated (about 10 minutes). Add watercress and mix well. Place in a bowl and serve.
*Recipe from Peter and Montse Bradford, authors of Cooking With Sea Vegetables.