The consumption of animal products was banned in Japan for 1200 years, so there's a rich culinary tradition of plant-based meat substitutes. Ganmodoki literally means "imitation goose" in Japanese, and it's thought to have gotten its name from early versions of this dish having a similar texture to goose meat. These days, it's typically made with tofu loaded up with various ingredients, and I love packing it full of color, texture, and flavor so that each bite is a little different from the next. Of course, saying it tastes like goose meat is a stretch, but it's meaty and packed with umami, making it a satisfying source of protein, regardless of your dietary preferences.
Makes 3 servings
Ingredients for Ganmodoki
- 350g firm tofu
- 1 tbsp potato starch
- ½ tbsp konbu cha
- ¼ tsp salt
- 40g carrot, julienned
- 50g shiitake, finely diced
- 50g shelled edamame
- 2 tsp black sesame seeds
Ingredients for the sauce
- 1 cup water
- ½ tsp konbu cha
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp kokuto (Okinawa black sugar) powder
- 1 tsp potato starch
- Grated ginger for garnish
- Crumble up the tofu into a clean cotton dishcloth. Gather up the corners and wring out as much liquid as you can.
- Add the tofu to a bowl along with the potato starch, konbu cha, and salt. Use a spatula or potato masher to mash the mixture together until it's relatively smooth and free of lumps.
- Add the carrots and mushrooms to a microwave-safe bowl, cover with a lid and pre-cook them in a microwave oven set at 800 watts for 2 minutes.
- Preheat 2-inches of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot to 340 degrees F (170 C) and line a cooling rack with paper towels.
- Add the cooked carrots and mushrooms along with the edamame and sesame seeds to the tofu and mix to combine.
- Divide the mixture into 6 segments and then shape each into a round or oval patty that's about 3/4 of an inch thick. Smack each patty between your hands a few times to remove air pockets and ensure there are no cracks in the patties.
- Deep fry the patties, flipping them over periodically until they're golden brown on both sides (~5-6 minutes). Transfer to the prepared rack to drain.
- Add all of the sauce ingredients to a pot and stir to dissolve everything. Heat the mixture, constantly stirring until it comes to a rolling boil.
- Serve the ganmodoki in a bowl, and pour the sauce on top. Garnish with grated ginger.