Hiyayakko: A Summertime Snack (冷奴 / ひややっこ)

Photo by Flickr user asiansupper

Summer in Japan can be the absolute worst. It’s hot, humid, and everyone’s sweaty. Though it’s not quite summer yet, I can feel it fast approaching. Convenience stores are already stocking up on cool snacks and kids are riding their bikes around and playing in the river. Nice, except for the killer heat. Today, I’ll be sharing with you my favorite summer Japanese dish, hiyayakko and a recipe for it.

Now, hiyayakko is essentially just cold tofu with some garnishing. But it’s much better than that description makes it sound! It’s creamy soft tofu that’s ice cold and melts in your mouth, a salty-savory sauce, and the crispness of green onions. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

My local 7-11 has started to bring in pre-packed hiyayakko sets. Basically, they sell a single serving of tofu, and a travel pack of sauce, katsuo flakes, and ginger paste, all in a convenient pack! Whenever I’m feeling lazy and craving some, I go for these. And they’re really good, but sometimes I crave the extra touches only a homemade version can add. I definitely recommend you try it out if you get the chance:

Hiyayakko (冷奴 / ひややっこ) Recipe (single serving):

Ingredients

1 pack – soft tofu, chilled
1 tbsp – ginger paste (sold in tubes)
1/4 c – somen sauce/watered down tsuyu
1 pinch – katsuo flakes
1 tbsp – green onions, sliced (if using dehydrated green onion slices, be sure to rehydrate them first!)

Directions

(1) Remove tofu from its container and put on a lipped plate
(2) Spread ginger paste on the top of the tofu
(3) Pour as little/as much of the somen sauce over the tofu and ginger paste. Some will soak into the tofu, but a majority of it will pool on the sides
(4) Sprinkle green onion slices over the top
(5) Top with katsuo flakes
(6) Enjoy! Add more sauce if you’d like more. I personally like a lot of sauce!

So, super easy, right? Something that’s so simple, yet so delicious. I love the way all the flavors just meld together. And it’s nice and cool, so perfect for summer. You can add other flavors as well. I know some people who eat it with wasabi and ginger paste (though I feel the wasabi removes the mild flavor of the hiyayakko that I enjoy so much).

Let me know what your favorite Japanese summertime treats are below!

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What do you think?