by Joanne on March 2, 2009

What is Kuzu?  Amazingly, I had some in my cupboard.  There didn’t seem to be an expiration date so I assumed it was good. Course it could have been one of those products in my cupboard that was purchased before the producer was required to put expiration dates on food. Wasn’t that before “Leave It To Beaver” came to TV?  Back to the original question.. What is Kuzu? 

dscn0276 Kuzu is a thickening agent.  I will quote right from the back of the package, distributed by Mitoku Co. at www.mitoku.com.

“…a choice starch derived from the roots of one of Japan’s most tenacious and vigorous wild plants….. the roots are crushed, repeatedly washed to remove impurities, then the white starch is naturally dried for over 90 days.” 

“Use….to thicken sauces, soups and broths, puddings, pie fillings and shortcakes toppings.  Kuzu must be well dissolve in cold water before adding to hot liquids.”

I used my Kuzu to make myself a wonderful Vegetarian dinner of “Baked Tofu with Mushrooms and Scallions”.  I took the recipe from “The Kripalu Cookbook” by Atma JoAnn Levitt and modified it.  My version went something like this:

  • 14 oz Lite Firm Tofu, drained and pressed
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 chopped green onions
  • 1 TBS kuzu dissolved in 1/4 cup of cold water
  • 6 peeled and sliced baby bella mushrooms

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Place the prepared tofu in an oiled baking dish – large enough to keep the tofu in one layer.

Put the ginger, wine, tamari, vinegar, and 2 of the chopped onions in a pot on stove. Bring to a boil. Add Kuzu and stir until translucent and thickened. Add the mushroom and pour over tofu. Put in the oven for35-40 minutes. *Use less ginger if you don’t want quite a strong ginger taste.

As a side, I used the same pot used to make the sauce above, added washed and halved fresh brussel sprouts with some water. Boil for about 5 – 6 minute. I put them in an oven proof dish which was drizzled with EVOO, added some peeled and sliced mushrooms, pepper and salt and roasted on 425 for 20 minutes.

dscn0279 Although the tofu was not crispy, the dish was very tasty. I think I’m beginning to really enjoy tofu in a variety of ways and not simply “crispy”. 

What about that pic?  I’m trying to get better but I really don’t think I have a photographers “eye”.    I contacted a great source, Mr. Michael Ray at Food Photography Blog for some helpful tips. 

Have a super duper night all!  I’m off to watch “The Dog Whisperer”  Sshhhhh!    ….Sweet dreams.

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  • At 2009.03.02 20:30, annie said:

    I have yet to cook with tofu. I have eaten it once or twice and did enjoy it, but somehow I am scared to try cooking it.
    Your dish looks really good though and I’m sure I would enjoy it. Maybe I’ll work up the courage one of these days 🙂

    • At 2009.03.02 23:46, Juliet said:

      Neat. I’ve never heard of Kuzu before! 🙂

      • At 2009.03.03 09:02, runningwithfood said:

        What a great picture, Joanne! Looks like a delicious meal. Have a great day!

        • At 2009.03.03 09:35, applec said:

          Annie: Try tofu using a recipe that will make it crispy on the outside. My husband, after trying once, vows never to put it to his lips again. His loss.

          Juliet: Actually – I never tried it before – last night was a first and the results were really good!

          Jennifer: Thanks! I’m trying 🙂

          • At 2009.03.03 11:31, Danielle said:

            That picture looks terrific!

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