Poached Tofu

MAKES: 4 or more servings

TIME: 20 minutes

The easiest precooking method and one that gives the tofu a swollen but firm texture that is entirely pleasant. And more than baking, grilling, or frying it does not mess with the tofu’s subtleties. (In Kyoto, where this technique is popular, the tofu is served almost unadorned.)

Use as you would fried or baked tofu in stir-fries or other dishes or serve drizzled with soy sauce, Ponzu Sauce, or any of the suggestions .

Salt

1 or 2 pounds tofu

Choose a pot large enough to hold the tofu comfortably; fill it with water, salt it, and bring to a boil.

Gently add the tofu in one piece to the boiling water. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently and cook until the tofu floats, 5 to 10 minutes, and no longer. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Use immediately or cool, wrap, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Variation

Dashi- or Kombu-Boiled Tofu. Each of these is lovely drizzled with plain soy or, even better, some Ponzu: If you already have Kombu Dashi, bring a couple of cups to a slow simmer. Cook the tofu as directed; serve the tofu, if you like, with some of the dashi, mixed with a little soy sauce and, if you have it, sake. If you have no dashi, heat a 4-inch piece of kombu (kelp) in the salted water, but do not boil. When the water steams, poach the tofu as directed.