Here’s a meat-lover’s recipe that I adapted for Meatless Monday!
But first, a little background…
Anyone who’s vacationed or lived in Hawaii can bear witness to the interesting melange of cultures that make up Island Cuisine. Many Hawaii foods resemble a certain recipe from a particular country but upon closer inspection are really a hybrid or mixture of one or two cultures.
Saimin. It looks like ramen but it’s not.
Spam Musubi! Hello?
And then there’s Meat Jun, a popular Korean recipe available only in Hawaii. (as far as I’ve experienced). Oh boy, was I surprised —and slightly embarrassed— during those first few visits to Korean restaurants here “on the Mainland”. (this was back in the day when I wasn’t a vegetarian)
“Do you have meat jun?”
“What’s that?” or “No!” was the answer.
I soon realized that:
Fish Jun (or Jeon) is Korean.
Meat Jun is Hawaiian.
I really did miss my island home…my island food.
LOL, I have many more home-sick , “where can I buy manapua“ stories to share with you some day.
So again, I modified this Hawaiian-Korean styled favorite to suit my vegetarian needs. But if you insist on being carnivourous, then substitute the tofu for some thinly sliced beef.
The freeze-dried tofu or kouya dofu in Japanese, has a completely different texture than what you may be used to. So forget all your past tofu experiences, good or bad, and give this a try. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Here we go with the recipe…
Mix all the ingredients, except the kouya dofu, eggs, corn starch and oil together. Set this marinade aside.
Soak the kouya dofu blocks in water until it softens. Then gently squeeze all the excess water out of each piece. Add the moistened blocks to the marinade and allow to soak up the flavor.
Okay now get ready the remaining items. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil to a non-stick frying pan and set to medium-high.
Beat the eggs and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of the marinade to the eggs and mix.
Now the fun part.
Again, gently squeeze the marinade out of the each block. You don’t want it wet, just moist enough for flavor.
Next, thin the blocks by halving each piece length-wise.
Working quickly, coat each piece with cornstarch, dip in the egg mixture and quickly add to the hot frying pan.
Cook one side until browned then flip over to even things out.
Remove, drain, and serve.
If you want a dipping sauce:
Mix together 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon of crushed sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and a 1/2 cup of shoyu. Chili sauce or chili oil can be added if you like heat.
I personally think there’s no need for dipping sauce if you mix the marinade in with the egg. But that’s just me.
And of course NEVER re-use the marinade for a dipping sauce if you used it for meat. Bad. Real bad.
I encourage you to try this recipe without meat.
Saba Man was very surprised that it wasn’t beef in his Meatless Monday bento. I had to show him the tofu.
Except for thickness, one individual block of kouya dofu is the size of a credit card. It looks like a dried up sponge until you cook it.
If you cannot find this variety of tofu, this recipe will easily accommodate the switch to fried tofu or aburage, but the texture will be different.