There is a French technique which involves simmering vegetables in a mixture of white wine and olive oil. The following is my attempt to do something similar using Japanese ingredients. You will need a small frying pan with a lid, and it should work with any vegetable.
Most of a head of broccoli
half a cake of tofu
1 spring onion
yuzu (ゆず – it tends to be labelled in hiragana. It’s citrus peel.)
Put sake in a small frying pan to a depth of about 1cm (½ inch – this isn’t crucial) and add a couple of tablespoons of sesame oil. Bring to the boil with the lid on.
Meanwhile, remove the stem from the broccoli and cut into strips a little larger than julienne strips. When the liquid is boiling, place them in the pan, put the lid back on and turn the heat down so that it is simmering.
Cube the tofu and add that to the simmering mixture. Stir, replace the lid and continue simmering.
Cut up as much of the broccoil head as you fancy into small florets and slice the spring onion thinly. Stir up the mixture in the pan, then place the broccoli florets and spring onions on top, to steam. Replace the lid, and allow to cook for about as long as it takes to cook soba noodles!
When it’s done, the pan should be almost dry and the tofu near the base will have gone nice and crispy. Stir it all up and serve sprinkled with yuzu. Toasted sesame seed would also be nice. I had it on top of soba, hence the description of how long to cook it for.
Update 21st May 2007: this also works well with asparagus. Cut the stem of the asparagus into 4cm lengths and then into quarters lengthways.