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Cooking Lessons From Japan

Spinach, tofu, and bean sprout salad with sesame-soy dressing

(Heath Robbins)
October 19, 2011

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Serves 4

Before you make the salad, press the tofu between two heavy boards or microwave it on a plate for 2 minutes, then drain off the liquid.

DRESSING

1/4  cup white sesame seeds, toasted  

1  clove garlic, chopped 

1/4  teaspoon salt 

1/4  cup canola oil 

2  tablespoons soy sauce 

1 1/2  teaspoons sugar 

1. In a food processor, pulse the sesame seeds several times or until the aroma is released.

2. Add the garlic, salt, oil, soy sauce, and sugar. Pulse for 30 seconds or until the mixture is blended; set aside.

SALAD

1  pound fresh spinach, well rinsed  

2  cups water 

10  ounces fresh bean sprouts 

1/2  teaspoon salt 

2  teaspoons sesame oil 

1  cake (14 to 16 ounces) soft or medium tofu, drained 

2  scallions, trimmed and finely chopped 

1. In a large saucepan, put the spinach with only the water that clings to it from washing. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice, or until the spinach wilts.

2. Tip the spinach into a colander and rinse with cold water. Drain and squeeze out the water with your hands. Chop the spinach into 2-inch pieces. Transfer to a serving bowl.

3. In the saucepan, combine 1 cup of the water with the bean sprouts and salt. Cover and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Drain the sprouts into a colander and transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle with the sesame oil.

4. Crumble the tofu on the spinach. Stir together. Add the bean sprouts and toss well.

5. Add the dressing and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle with scallions.

Debra Samuels. Adapted from “My Japanese Table.’’