Japanese Braised Kale

Japanese Braised Kale

Japanese Braised Kale
As I mentioned on the show, my friends Molly and Nabe made this for me just after their wedding in Sado-ga-shima Japan.  It was the purest example of cooking with love I’ve ever witnessed and the kale?  Awesomeness.

1 lb firm or extra firm tofu
4 C coarsely chopped kale
3 TBS olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 TBS ginger, chopped
1/4 tsp chili flakes
1/2 C red wine
2 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS brown sugar

The first step is to prep that tofu!  I show you what to do on the video, slice it up into 1/3” thick pieces and place it between some towels and PRESS THE WATER OUT—put a big heavy cutting board and some cook books on top and let it sit for 20 minutes.  Now you are ready to use the tofu for more delectable purposes.  It will really absorb marinades well at this point, it’s also prime time for grilling, frying and searing!

Heat up a big pan, like a wok or a spaghetti pot, add 2 TBS oil and sear those babies till they’re crispy and brown.  Don’t be afraid to cook the hell out of ‘em but don’t burn them…a good 2 to 3 minutes per side on medium high heat usually works.  Set the tofu aside, I usually put it on a couple of a paper towels to blot the excess oil.

Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and add the chopped garlic, ginger and chili flakes and let ‘em brown a little for about a minute.  If your pan seems a little dry, add some extra oil…  Now chuck in your kale and toss it fast so it gets hit with that hot oil and browns on the sides of the pan a little…give this a couple of minutes before adding the wine.  If you’re not into wine, you can use stock instead.  Let it reduce a little, add the soy sauce and brown sugar, stir and turn the heat down to a simmer and cover it up.  I recommend giving this ten minutes to cook thoroughly but sometimes I like my kale a little al dente and find it is ready to eat after just a few minutes.  TASTE IT and when you think it is ready, serve it up!

Plate your kale on top of a bowl of rice, add your seared tofu, spoon some of that sweet, gingery soy reduction on top, give it a good squeeze of lemon juice and you are ready to get down with a super delicious, healthy kale feast all the way from my friends in Japan!