When I saw Green Bean Shira – ae recipe at Nami’s blog (Just One Cookbook) I knew I would love the dish. Miso, tofu and sesame seeds are my beloved Japanese cuisine ingredients, and shira-ae (白和え) is a dish of vegetables mixed with these ingredients. How could I resist? Instead of the green beans I used blanched snow peas, now in season, and the result was even better than I thought: delicate and light, but very filling at the same time. A perfect side-dish and maybe even a main dish for vegetarians? Thank you, Nami, for sharing this fabulous recipe!
Shira-ae means more or less “mixed/dressed with white” and belongs to the “aemono “, or “dressed dishes” category, which could be compared to the Western salads or side dishes, since it includes vegetables with a sauce without vinegar. Shira-ae is for me a double discovery: not only is it the first aemono dish I have ever made, but also the first one I have ever tasted. “Sunomono” is another, very close category including vinegared dishes, but I haven’t explored it yet.
Even though my dish looks different from Nami’s one, I have followed her instructions to the letter, apart from substituting the sugar with mirin. I have also adjusted the amounts to make an individual dish (I am the only tofu fan at home). At the time I prepared it I didn’t have the Japanese mortar (now I do and intend using it very often!), but the Western type of mortar was very efficient in grinding sesame seeds too. You may use also an electric grinder, but the smell gradually created during the process of manual sesame grinding is incredible and worth the tiny effort.
a mortar or a spice grinder
Preparation: 10 minutes
Ingredients (serves one):
100 g snow peas (trimmed and cut in two)
50 g tofu
2 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon miso
1 teaspoon mirin (or sugar)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Drain the tofu.
Grind the sesame seeds in a Japanese mortar (suribachi), a standard European mortar or in a spice grinder.
Add the remaining ingredients.
Blanch the snow peas.
Put the snow peas in a bowl and combine with all the above ingredients and the crumbled tofu.
Serve warm or cold.