All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Ninjin to horenso no shiraae / carrot and spinach in tofu dressing

Here is a slightly sweet, creamy tofu dressing for everyday vegetables. Coarsely ground toasted sesame seeds add a soft rich taste and faint aroma to the dressing.


1/2-2/3 carrot
1/4-1/3 bunch spinach (80 g in photo)

1/2 tsp sesame oil (to saute carrot; not in photo)

For shiraae tofu dressing
50-60 g kinugoshi soft tofu (55 g in photo)
2 tsp toasted white sesame seeds
1/2 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp usukuchi soy sauce
Salt, to taste (not in photo)


Cut carrot into matchsticks.

Wrap in plastic and microwave for 30 seconds.
Open plastic, and let hot air escape to stop cooking.


Heat sesame oil, and saute carrot for a few minutes until surface becomes somewhat toasty (do not need to brown).
Remove from heat, and let cool.


Meanwhile, blanch spinach.
Bring plenty of water to a boil, and put spinach, root ends first.
When color brightens, immediately transfer to ice water.
When cool, squeeze out extra water, and cut into 3-4 cm.


Prepare tofu dressing.
In a suribachi mortar, grind sesame seeds halfway through.

Add tofu, and mix well.
Add mirin and usukuchi soy sauce, and mix well.
Taste, and add salt if necessary.


When carrot cools, add to tofu dressing.
Squeeze out extra water from spinach once again, and add to dressing while separating clumps.

Mix well.

  • Sauteing carrot is optional. It adds a slightly rich taste to the dish. Carrot can be blanched instead of microwaving.
  • Matchstick-size carrot remains somewhat crunchy after microwaving and sauteing. It is slightly firmer than the stems of spinach and provides a good contrast with the soft dressing. However, carrot can also be thinly sliced into rounds, squares or rectangles. You can also play with the cooking times to get different textures.
  • Soft tofu is usually used for smooth shiraae dressing. For a crumbly, more substantial dressing, momen firm tofu can be used.
  • Shiraae is a small dish with tofu dressing. Shira comes from shiro [white], which implies tofu. Ae is from aeru [to dress], as in gomaae dishes with sesame dressing.

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