From Nobu’s Vegetarian Cookbook, Nobu Matsuhisa, Pie Books, 2011.
According to the introduction to this recipe the ingredients of soy milk, mushrooms and tomatoes were all high on the list of umami contenders. So this should clearly be a savoury pudding.
I began by making yuba which is the skin that forms over slowly heated soy milk. I placed some milk in a frying pan and turned up the stove top to its lowest heat and let the yuba gradually form on the surface of the milk. It was then gently lifted off and the milk left to form another layer of yuba. As they were taken off they were placed in the small containers I was using for the puddings.
I then fried a few pieces of mushroom and also placed them in the bottom of the containers.
Now I placed 400ml of soy milk in a saucepan. I was making two puddings. Into the milk I poured 2 tablespoons light soy sauce and 2 tablespoons mirin. The mixture was brought to just under simmer level and 3 teaspoons agar powder were added and dissolved. The liquid was now strained and poured over the yuba and mushrooms in the bowls.
Two tomatoes were now peeled and the seeds removed. They went into the blender to be pureed. Then they went into a saucepan with a little salt and a little sugar. It was simmered until it had thickened slightly and was then taken off the heat and left to cool.
When the puddings were ready to be served some tomato sauce was poured over the top and some sundried tomatoes, finely sliced, were added. The recipe called for some truffle slices but I did without them.
The puddings turned out to be much firmer than I had imagined. I had never used agar powder before so had carefully measured it out but it seemed to me to be too much. I found that the texture of the pudding was not totally appealing to me. The contrast of the rich sauce against the milder pudding worked well and there were the occasional bites of mushroom. The yuba, for me, did not do much to the overall taste. Oddly there was something about this blend and the texture that I found somewhat difficult to stomach. I definitely had difficulty getting the whole dish down. While I enjoyed the exercise of making this dish, it’s not one I would make again.
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔