I went vegetarian while attending Parsons School of Design in the early 90s. I worked my way through school as a shift supervisor at my local CVS, and I commuted into Manhattan from New Jersey. Between my monthly train pass and the many art supplies I needed for my classes, I didn’t have too much money leftover. All of my friends were broke, too, so I was in good company. Whenever we did splurge on a meal out, it was someplace inexpensive.
One of our favorite places to eat was Dojo on West 4th and Mercer in The Village, which had a lot of vegetarian options. I would order the Soy Burger Dinner, which was only $3.95 at the time. It came with brown rice and side salad, and both the salad and burger were topped Dojo’s famous carrot-ginger dressing. That stuff was so good that I could have eaten it out of a bowl with a spoon. I wasn’t a very adventurous diner at the time, but one day I decided to give their Hajiki Tofu Burger a go. Seaweed seemed like a weird thing to eat, but hey, it was vegetarian, so why not? It was love at first bite, and I had found a new favorite. Luckily, it too came with a side salad topped with carrot-ginger dressing.
As the years went on, I continued to frequent Dojo. The prices of the burgers didn’t change, although the burger size seemed to get smaller and smaller every time I had one. With the influx of vegan restaurants in New Yorks City, I haven’t eaten at Dojo in a while. It’s still there, and they still serve Soy Burger Dinners and Hajiki Tofu Burgers. They’re both $7.95, which still seems like a good deal to me.
Even though it’s been a while since I had one, I occasionally find myself with a hankering for both burgers. Rather than spend $13.50 on a train ticket for $7.95 burger, I thought I’d try my hand at making a Hajiki Tofu Burger at home, and it’s just as good as I remember Dojo’s burger.
Hajiki Tofu Burgers can be served as a platter with brown rice and a side salad, or on a bun with sriracha and avocado.
Hajiki Tofu Burgers with Ginger Miso Dressing
These Hajiki Tofu Burgers with Ginger Miso Dressing take me make to Greenwich Village in the 1990s!
For the Hajiki Tofu Burgers
- ¼ cup dried hajiki or arame seaweed
- 1 teaspoon neutral vegetable oil
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 14 or 15 ounce container of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
- 2 tablespoons mellow white miso
- 2 tablespoons chickpea flour
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
For the Ginger Miso Dressing
- ¼ cup tahini
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons mellow white miso
- 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 tablespoon agave
- 1- inch piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Rinse the hajiki in a colander to remove any dirt, then place it in a bowl with enough warm water to cover it. Let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes, until it has reconstituted. Drain and coarsely chop into small pieces.
Add the oil to a small pan over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, scallion, garlic, sesame seeds and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables have begun to soften and are fragrant.
In a large bowl, mash the tofu with a potato masher or large spoon. Add the hajiki, cooked carrot mixture, miso, chickpea flour, tamari, sesame oil to the tofu and mix well. Roll up your sleeves and use your hands to get everything well mixed.
Form the tofu mixture into 4 patties and gently place them on the parchment paper. Cook for 15 minutes, flip the burgers, and cook for another 15 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides.
While the burgers are cooking, mix all of the ingredients together in a food processor or blender. It it seems too thick, add a little water, a teaspoon at a time. Set aside until ready to use.
Serve burgers on a plate with brown rice and a salad, or on a burger bun with lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Drizzle the Ginger Miso Dressing generously over the burgers.
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