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Kale in Peanut Butter–Tofu Sauce


Serves 4

  • by from Hiroko's American Kitchen: Cooking with Japanese Flavors

Puréed, creamy tofu and sesame paste dressing flavored with shoyu (soy sauce), mirin (sweet cooking wine), sugar, and salt is a classic favorite that is often used in Japan to dress lightly cooked vegetables. This recipe tweaks the preparation for an American kitchen: you crumble the tofu with a fork, then pair it with peanut butter to create a different taste and texture. Even people who sometimes shun tofu say this dressing is delightful.

  • 3 Tbs. peanut butter or other nut/seed butter
  • 3 Tbs. low-sodium chicken stock, warmed
  • 1 tsp. shoyu (soy sauce)


  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 block extra-firm or firm tofu (7 oz.)
  • 5 cups thinly julienned kale with stems
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts or white sesame seeds

Using a spatula, mix and soften the peanut butter with the warm stock in a large bowl. Add the soy sauce, honey, salt, and black pepper and mix thoroughly.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cut the tofu in half crosswise, add the tofu to the boiling water, and cook for 1 minute. Drain the tofu and wrap each piece in doubled paper towels, squeezing firmly to remove excess water. Do not worry about breaking the tofu, as you are going to crumble it later. Remove the tofu from the paper towels and transfer it to the bowl with the peanut butter. With a fork, crumble the tofu into very small pieces and mix it with the sauce. Add the kale and two-thirds of the peanuts to the bowl and toss the mixture thoroughly.

Divide the salad into small bowls, garnish with the remaining peanuts, and serve.

Photo: Frances Janisch

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