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Tofu misozuke update #5 – kelp variations

Now that we have a good recipe for tofu misozuke, it’s time to experiment! With the ecology of cheeses as inspiration and guide, we hope to drive the  speciation of our delicious creamy tofu to many unoccupied niches. One of our goals was to recreate a variant we only knew from written description: a pungent, Roquefort-like kombu-wrapped miso marinated tofu. We started a pilot experiment 2 months ago and we were excited enough about the results to pursue further.

The tofu misozuke block was creamy and flavorful with an extra umami kick courtesy of the kombu. The scent of kelp was subtle but detectable, especially on the surface. We were pleasantly surprised to find that, even though we took into account the extra mass of the kelp with extra miso marinade, the kelp wrapped tofu tasted decidedly less salty than a control block. Best we can tell, the umami taste imparted by the kelp helped dial down the sensation of saltiness, even though salt content was roughly equal.

(Our minds were blown: we were used to the oft-exploited phenomenon in cooking where salt helped bring out flavor in both savory and sweet dishes. It never occurred to us that the relationship worked the other way also – that complexity of other flavors could dilute the taste of salt.)

What the kombu-wrapped tofu misozuke was not, was pungent. Hrm…

Thinking back on the text, there were at least two possible interpretations of the author’s description of the kombu-wrapped miso marinated tofu. We started a new experiment to see if the other interpretation would give us our pungency:

  • We’re repeating our first kelp wrapped experiment with tofu smeared in miso marinade and wrapped in kombu (left).
  • A new variation: tofu wrapped in kombu, then smeared in miso marinade.

We’ll let you know how this experiment turns out in a couple of months.


  1. How’d this stuff turn out? I’m curious.

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting!
      It turned out well! A more rounded, deeper flavor. It leaves a sweet, almost nutty after taste. People disagree over whether or not the salt taste is stronger or weaker compared to the original, which means no apparent change, I guess. A bit more pungent, oceany, too.

  2. Chrissie says:

    Hi there from Albany, West Australia.
    I see this was posted 2012, wonder if you are still making this?
    I am very inspired by your recipe, thank you so very much for sharing. I will give this wonderful sounding culinary experiment a go as soon as I can. I have been making my own tofu and selling it from home with the greatest joy.
    I therefore suggest that it might be interesting for you to find out if your cheese tastes different depending on the type of agent used to set the tofu in the first place. I use sea water according to the Japanese farmhouse recipe described in the absolutely wonderful “Book of Tofu” by William Shurtleff, and there are many different setting agents used commercially.
    Thanks again 🙂