We've always put tofu and triple-crème cheese in different categories.
But then we tasted miso-cured, butter-textured tofu misozuke, and the categories melted away. Once hard to find, this tofu is now being made and sold online by Rau Om, a company founded by a Vietnamese couple with science backgrounds and a long-standing hobby of crazy home-kitchen experiments.
The couple first tasted tofu misozuke as a bar snack in a hole-in-the-wall sake spot in Japan, where it was unadorned and eaten with a spoon. It was a revelation--in a largely dairy-free society--a food that filled the salty, savory void normally satisfied by cheese.
Rich and intensely savory, tofu misozuke ($7 for 2½ ounces; buy here) is wildly simple: Tofu is cured in miso for two months. The miso enzymes break the proteins down into short amino acids, creating an opulent texture similar to foie gras. Despite the short ingredient list, it took years for Rau Om to cobble the recipe together from mentions in esoteric science journals and archaic 18th-century Japanese cookbooks.
The humble tofu is packed with creamy fattiness and has an added wallop of miso essence. We used it as a spread to elevate grilled cheese, dissolved it in broth for a quick soup and mixed it into mayonnaise for a dip that paired beautifully with vegetables.
Vegan health food for cheese lovers? This is the Holy Grail.