Shira Ae is a delicious nutty salad of boiled vegetables mixed with a creamy puree of tofu and toasted sesame seeds. It's a bit like a potato salad, only creamier, more nutritious, and more flavorful.
The key to the nutty creaminess is in pureeing tofu that's had its excess water squeezed out with toasted sesame seeds. This is traditionally done with a suribachi (Japanese mortar and pestle), but a food processor is faster and more effective. As for the mix-ins, Shira Ae can be made with anything from edamame to hijiki to konnyaku. The key here is to pick ingredients with various colors and textures.
This Shira Ae will keep for a few days in the fridge, and I find the flavor is best when it's had a chance to mature for a day. This makes it a wonderful make-ahead side dish for bentos and get-togethers.
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