When I hear that there is a new vegan “cheese” on the market, I stop everything and order two packages of the product, pronto! A vegan cheese truly is the chupacabra of plant-based eating.
Reviews have been touting Rau Om’s tofu misozuke as the holy grail of vegan cheese. A taste so extraordinary, that you would savor the flavor with soju or sake and nothing more. I think one review even compared the tofu misozuke to foie gras…really? Could it be?
My tofu parcel arrived neatly wrapped in parchment and cradled by a piece of bamboo. Tofu misozuke is a Japanese delicacy enjoyed straight up or as a spread, usually with a glass of wine or sake. The non GMO tofu is bathed in miso, sake and sugar. When the tofu emerges after a two month fermentation process, the taste is completely unique .The flavor profile is so deep, you could drown in it, so go easy. Slice into the small block and it has the creamy, buttery texture of a pate. A mere mortal block of tofu has been transformed into an umami wrapped, velvet tongue taste delight.
Because it is marinated in miso the tofu can be on the salty side, so keep that in mind when deciding how to serve it. A good crusty bread will work but certain crackers will over power due to the sodium content. I used the tofu misozuke in a cucumber maki roll and the flavors were balanced perfectly. The sweet tang of sushi rice paired with cool cucumber and a savory sliver of the tofu were working. If I had to compare the tofu misozuke to something in the omnivore world, I think it’s reminiscent of uni (sea urchin) with the sweet brininess. I think it can be used to bring an amazing depth of flavor to sauces and I’m anxious to play around with this new ingredient.
It would be unfair to compare the tofu misozuke to cheese or foie gras because there is no fatty mouth feel to the tofu like foie. And I don’t find it to be as pungent as cheese, which can be a good thing. Rau Om has created a delicacy that is unique enough to stand on it’s own without pretending to be anything else. If you aren’t near the Palo Alto or Sunnyvale farmers markets, you can order online (2.5 oz/$7 +shipping). The tofu is perishable so they send the product with ice packs via priority or expedited shipping. If you’re feeling adventurous and don’t mind waiting two months, you can try making it yourself with Rau Om’s recipe here. I’ll be attempting to make my first batch this weekend since the two blocks I ordered were shamelessly devoured. I want more.
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