Bebe Taian: Easy Japanese-Inspired Veggie Dip

May 8, 2012

Easy Japanese-Inspired Veggie Dip

In my spare time, I've taken to learning to cook. I can do some limited Western stuff, but I'd really like to learn Asian cooking. I felt much healthier when I was in Japan. I weighed less, but I felt stronger. I had more muscle. Now that I'm back in America, I have this extra weight in fat that I just can't seem to shake. Maybe going back to Japanese food is the secret!

But... I confess. I hate vegetables. I didn't grow up eating them. Most of them taste bland. Celery exists to be a delivery system for peanut butter, and for that, I've got mochi. I've started adding easy things to tomato sauces, like onions, mushrooms, and sometimes bell peppers, but it isn't enough. Maybe I'd like them better covered in delicious dips. Something that doesn't involve sour cream. Because if I hate vegetables, I REALLY hate low-fat and fat-free stuff.

These recipes came from Emi Kazuko's "Easy Japanese Cookbook". You'll need a food processor and an electric grinder (like a small, clean coffee grinder). If you're throwing a party, try these!

Nama Yasai no Dippu Shasu (Three Dips with Fresh Vegetables)
Serves 4 - Prep Time: 40mins - Cooking Time: 15mins

3/4c soymilk
sea salt
prepared fresh vegetables for dipping (suggested: celery, carrots, cucumbers, button mushrooms)

Arrange the vegetables on a serving plate. You'll need three small bowls for the dips.
1/4 small kabocha squash
1 1/2tbsp miso

Steam the kabocha over med. heat for about 15mins, then remove and let cool. Scrape out the flesh with a spoon, discard the skin, and pound it in a Japanese mortar + pestle, or use a food processor until it forms a smooth paste. Mix in the miso and 5tbsp of the soymilk. Transfer to serving bowl.

3tbsp white sesame seeds (shirogoma), toasted
1/2block firm tofu (5oz), chopped
1tsp sugar
1tsp black sesame seeds (kurogoma)
*optional* a few drops chili oil/sriracha

Grind the white sesame seeds in an electric grinder. Add the tofu and pound together. Stir in 3tbsp of the soymilk and add the sugar, then season with salt to taste. Stir in black sesame seeds, setting aside a few to garnish. If using chili oil or sriracha, add it now. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle seeds on for garnish.

1 small avocado, pitted and chopped
1tbsp lemon juice
1-2tsp wasabi paste

The avocado dip can be made in a food processor, but avocados are usually very soft and might be able to be mashed until smooth with a fork. Either way, render the avocado, lemon juice, remaining soymilk, and wasabi into a smooth paste. Add salt to taste.

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