Ganmodoki, according to Wikipedia means ‘imitation goose’ which was developed from vegan buddhist cuisine in Japan. Though the dish is traditionally deep fried, I like to avoid using or cooking items that get hotter than boiling water*. Even if the texture is not equivalent to being totally immersed in hot, hot oil I find I get close with a hot oven and a misting of oil.
Apart from being eaten as-is they can be served in soup, poached in dashi or more famously found in oden – a winter stew made from meat and vegetables. Over at Shirogohan he recommends that if eaten fresh it must be eaten with ginger soy sauce (soy sauce with freshly grated ginger.)
- 1 block of firm silken tofu
- 2 large reconstituted shiitake mushroom caps
- 1 small carrot
- 1 stalk of spring onion
- A small amount of pine nuts
- A small amount of miso - optional and variety of choosing
- Toasted sesame oil or spray oil
- Prepare the tofu by draining the water from it: place in a flat shallow dish and put a weight (like a wooden chopping board) on top of the tofu and leave for at least half an hour. Discard the water that seeps out.
- With a firm sieve and a silicon scraper (or wooden spoon), scrape the tofu through the sieve into a bowl. I find this step makes the texture much smoother than the alternative: mashing thoroughly with fork or hand - I've not tried using a food processor.
- Cut the carrot into small, thin sticks - about 2mm thick and 2cm long.
- Fine chop/mince the spring onion with a knife
- If using a tiny amount of pine nuts, roughly chop them
- Cut the shiitake caps in half. Then slice the shiitake across as thin as you can manage (2-2.5mm). Rough chop further if needed or if a finer distribution desired.
- Place the carrot, shiitake, spring onion, and the miso (if using) into the mushed tofu and mix well with your (clean!) hands.
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 7. The oven thermometer claimed 220 degrees Celcius, but I have a feeling it was around 190-200 (and the oven is crap).
- Meanwhile, lightly grease your hands with some oil. With (cutlery, rather than measuring) tablespoon amounts of mixture at a time, roll a ball in your hands (see, no-stick!) and slightly flatten. Place on a tray lined with baking paper or a silicon oven mat (even better). Repeat until all the tofu mix has been balled.
- With a small amount of oil in a small bowl, very lightly dab oil on each disc. If you have an oil 'misting' canister or spray oil this will provide a better coverage. I dab sesame for the flavour.
- Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Optionally you can reapply** the oil mid-cook and turn up the heat. Feel free to turn up the heat near the end if the crust needs to crisp up (under your strict supervision.) But make sure to be careful to watch them cook as they aren't supposed to be dark brown - look for a light golden colour.
- Serve hot with coarse mustard (and beer***) or cool on a wire rack (and serve cold with coarse mustard and beer). Alternatively, pack cold in your lunch (coarse mustard highly recommended, though the beer is optional.)
*Note: I have given myself a rather severe burn once which involved hot oil – turon plus hot oil plus fork (instead of tongs) equals second degree burns. After taking a very hot shower, the places where the burns were (still!) appear as red patches. So the lesson here boys & girls: beware of hot oil and make sure you use the correct tool for the job (and aloe vera is great for burns)!
**Reapplying oil will help get closer to a deep fried treatment, but obviously at the cost of reducing the lower.
***Beer more likely to match would be light golden varieties like witbier or more hoppy American-craft-style if served with the mustard. Vegans be wary though, the beer may not be vegan-friendly.