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


Horenso to ebi, age no shiraae / spinach, shrimp and toasted thin deep-fried tofu in tofu dressing

A small side dish with spinach. While spinach alone tastes good with shiraae tofu dressing, pairing it with other ingredients opens up an intriguing world of different textures and tastes. Here is an example with shrimp and usuage thin deep-fried tofu.

1/2 of recipe:
67 calories; 6.5 g protein; 3.4 g fat; 3.1 g carbohydrate; 2.0 g net carbs; 104 mg sodium; 26 mg cholesterol; 1.4 g fiber


Large handful spinach (70 g in photo)
5 small shrimp (34 g shelled in photo)
1/2 small usuage thin deep-fried tofu (prepped)

1 tbsp katakuriko potato starch (to clean shrimp; not in photo)
1/2-1 tbsp sake (to cook shrimp; not in photo)

For shiraae tofu dressing (see Notes if not using shoyukoji soy sauce rice malt)
50-60 g kinugoshi soft tofu (56 g in photo)
2 tsp toasted white sesame seeds
1/2 tsp usukuchi shoyukoji soy sauce rice malt (made with usukuchi soy sauce)
1 tsp dashi


Clean shrimp with katakuriko potato starch, and rinse well.

Sogigiri slice at a slant into smaller pieces.

Place in a single layer in a microwaveable container, pour over sake, and microwave without cover for 25-30 seconds, flipping (every 10 seconds or so) until they turn pink.

Let cool.


Bring plenty of water to boil; blanch spinach, putting stem ends first, then the leaves.

When leaves brighten, transfer to ice water to stop cooking and maintain bright color.
When cool, squeeze out excess water, and cut into 3-4 cm. 


Meanwhile, fry usuage thin deep-fried tofu without oil until crispy.

Cut into 5-7mm strips.


In suribachi mortar, grind sesame seeds.

Drain water from tofu, add to sesame seeds, and mix well.

Add usukuchi shoyukoji and dashi, and mix well.  


When shrimp and usuage are cool, mix everything together.
First squeeze out excess water from spinach again, and add to tofu dressing.
Mix well.

Add shrimp and usuage, and gently mix. 
Ready to serve.

  • Shoyukoji gives a mellow sweet taste, but if you prefer something sweeter, add a small amount of sugar (pinch) or mirin (max. 1/4 tsp) after tasting dressing.
  • Make sure all ingredients are cool before mixing with tofu dressing.
  • The crispiness of usuage will be lost if left in dressing for some time. Ideally, mix all ingredients immediately before serving.
  • Shrimp can be boiled with sake instead of microwaved. In either case, pay attention to the color and stop cooking when they turn pink. Overcooked shrimp have a rubbery, unpleasant texture.
  • Momen firm tofu works, too. This tofu dressing would be more substantial and crumbly (see example) compared to the creamy texture of dressing made with kinugoshi soft tofu.
  • If not using shoyukoji soy sauce rice malt, use 1/2 tsp usukuchi soy sauce and add 1/4 tsp mirin. The sodium content per 1/2 recipe in this case would be 130 mg. Usukuchi soy sauce would give a clearer saltiness whereas shoyukoji makes the dressing taste more complex, similar to adding miso.

(Last updated: May 21, 2014)

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