Degree of difficulty: extremely easy
Time: 5 minutes
Otani, one of the first Japanese sushi restaurants in Columbus, run by a guy named Honda, is a '70s-looking space, multi-leveled with orange leather seats, dim recessed lighting and gray slate tiled floors, still host to karaoke contests on the weekends.
There's an appetizer not featured on their newer menus that they'll whip up, mainly because it's so simple. It's a clean, fresh (and actually, healthy) start to a Japanese meal.
Make sure you've shopped for bonito flake before you begin the recipe. Even though just a pinch or two is required, it's a critical ingredient to the flavor palette. Plus it's dried, so it keeps well. We have a great Japanese market on the west side of Columbus--I'll bet most Asian markets will carry this too. And make sure you've got a fresh knob of ginger--makes all the difference.
Japanese Tofu Appetizer
1 container tofu, medium firm
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped scallions
1 or 2 pinches dried shaved bonito flake
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
(One container of tofu will serve 3 or even 4 as an appetizer. Makes a nice light lunch as well.)
Cut tofu into large chunks and place in bowl. Sprinkle minced fresh ginger, chopped fresh scallions over top, then add a pinch or two of bonito flake. Pour soy sauce into bowl and serve.
Suggested soundtrack: Adele's "Someone Like You"