Food Forum
Vol. 33 No. 2  July 2019




Shira-ae is a traditional dish of vegetables dressed with creamy, mashed tofu. Shira means “white” and ae means “to dress.” Shrimp or snap peas could be added for a tasty variation, while unsalted peanut butter can be a possible substitute for ground sesame.


Wood ear mushroom
Serves 4

174 kcal Protein 22.2 g Fat 16.1 g (per serving)

  • 2 dried kikurage wood ear mushrooms
  • 150 g / 5.3 oz. carrot (about 2 medium size)
  • 40 g / 1.4 oz. string beans 
  • 1 block of konnyaku konjac*, approx. 240 g / 8.5 oz.
Simmering liquid
  • 240 ml / 1 C dashi stock
  • 1 T Kikkoman Soy Sauce
  • 4 t granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 block firm tofu, approx. 400 g / 14 oz.
  • 4 T roasted white sesame seeds**
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 2 t Kikkoman Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 t salt


  1. In a bowl filled with ample water, soak the dried wood ear mushrooms for about 15 minutes, or according to package instructions, and drain. Remove the hard mushroom tips and cut into thin strips. Set aside.
  2. Peel the carrot and cut into julienne strips 3 cm / 1 in. long. Remove the strings from the beans and parboil them in lightly salted hot water, then drain. Cut them into angled slices.
  3. Cut the konnyaku into slices 5 mm / 0.2 in. thick, then into thin 5 mm strips. Parboil and drain.
  4. Put the simmering liquid ingredients into a pot. Add the mushroom, carrot and konnyaku, and allow to come to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer while stirring with cooking chopsticks or a wooden spatula until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add string beans, mix briefly with the other ingredients, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. Cut the tofu into 4 equal pieces. Boil in a saucepan for 1 minute, then remove. Drain, wrap with a paper towel and squeeze out excess water lightly.
  6. In a mortar, grind the white sesame seeds with a pestle into almost smooth state. Place tofu and ground sesame in a food processor and blend until creamy. Then add the other dressing ingredients and continue to mix well in the processor.
  7. Drain the simmered mushroom, carrot, konnyaku andstring beans. Mix these with the tofu-sesame dressing in a bowl, and spoon out into a serving dish.

* Please see Tasty Travel article to read about konnyaku.
** May substitute 2 T Japanese white sesame paste or tahini.

Recipe by Kikkoman Corporation

1 C (U.S. cup) = approx. 240 ml; 1 T = 15 ml; 1 t = 5 ml