Thursday, February 01, 2007

Soba noodles with fried tofu

There was so much soy the evening I made this. I actually did not put any miso in the sauce I made for these noodles, simply because I felt it would be over the top to eat that many soy-derived food products in one evening. Anyway, it was highly tasty.

Opened up a package of extra-firm tofu (it was not packed in water, but that kind is fine too) and dried it off by wringing it gently in a clean dishtowel. If you had time you could also weight & drain it to get even more water out. Sliced it into small chunks of about 1 1/2" square. Dusted the tofu pieces with about 3 tablespoons of cornstarch--I was trying to get them pretty well covered. Heated 1/4 cup of canola oil in a deep, lidded pot until it was very hot, then fried the tofu pieces in 2 batches. This isn't too tricky--this particular incredibly handy pot that I was using (thanks Dad!) has a glass lid which makes it easier to monitor frying foods. Flipped the pieces once to brown both sides, then removed them to drain on paper towels. When both batches were done I sprinkled with black pepper and set them aside in a single layer so they would stay crispy. Sliced one red pepper into very thin strips (no more than 1/4") and did the same with 1 peeled & trimmed broccoli stem (not the florets). Minced 4 cloves of garlic and sautéed in 1 tablespoon of sesame oil with a pinch of red pepper flakes. When the garlic was getting soft (maybe 1-2 minutes), added the red pepper & broccoli stem strips and sautéed all together over high heat for about 3 minutes, then set the mixture aside with the tofu. Meanwhile, I put one bundle of soba noodles to boil (they only take 4-5 minutes, so keep an eye on them!), drained them and set aside. To the now-empty pot I added 3 tablespoons soy sauce and 2 tablespoons rice vinegar and mixed them well over medium heat. Added a tablespoon of tahini and about 3 tablespoons of white wine and continued to mix until sauce was a good, creamy consistency. Added the soba noodles to the sauce and mixed them well so they got good and covered, then added the vegetables and the tofu. Made sure everything was warmed, and then served sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Considering we boiled up some edamame to snack on while cooking, that's 3 entirely different soy types in just one meal! I am now reconsidering the sauce: I think I would have added a little less soy sauce and stirred in 1 tablespoon of miso with a splash of orange juice, before adding the noodles & vegetables/tofu. I am amazed by the versatility of soy.

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