Goma tofu, also known as sesame tofu or kurogoma tofu, is a unique variation of tofu that is popular in Japanese cuisine. Unlike traditional soybean tofu, it’s is made from ground sesame seeds and has a distinct nutty flavor and creamy texture. It is a vegan and gluten-free alternative that offers a different taste and experience compared to soy-based tofu.
The history of goma tofu dates back to ancient times in Japan. It is believed to have originated in the Shingon Buddhist temples, where it was developed as a vegetarian dish to accommodate the dietary restrictions of monks. Sesame seeds were abundant in Japan, making them an ideal ingredient for creating a protein-rich tofu alternative.
The process of making goma tofu involves grinding toasted white sesame seeds into a fine paste and combining it with kuzu (kudzu) starch, water, and a pinch of salt. The mixture is then heated and stirred until it thickens, and it is poured into molds to set. Once cooled and solidified, it’s ready to be served.
Goma tofu is often enjoyed chilled or at room temperature. It is commonly served with a soy-based dipping sauce or garnished with toppings such as grated ginger, green onions, or seaweed. Its smooth and creamy texture, coupled with the rich sesame flavor, makes it a delightful addition to various dishes and a popular choice in Japanese cuisine.
In addition to its unique taste, goma tofu is also valued for its nutritional benefits. Sesame seeds are a good source of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, and magnesium. Goma tofu provides a tasty and nutritious option for individuals following vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free diets.
Today, this tasty alternative to soybean tofu can be found in restaurants specializing in Japanese cuisine, particularly those that offer traditional Buddhist temple cuisine known as shōjin ryōri. It has also gained popularity in home cooking, where it is enjoyed as a healthy and flavorful alternative to soybean tofu.
This version of goma tofu uses kuzuko (arrowroot starch) as a natural thickener. Try it out and let me know what you think in the comments section, below.