Daniel and I are really into one-pot meals, but once in a while we make a meal with three separate components. This is one of those meals that is quick and easy to make despite the multiple parts. It has many possible variations.
Soba noodles are spaghetti-like Japanese noodles made from buckwheat. They have a nice flavor and cook quickly. I recommend buying them from an Asian market so you can compare the nutrition profiles of several brands; they vary quite a bit, with some being pretty high in protein, fiber, and iron. They can be eaten with all kinds of meals but are particularly good with things of at least vaguely Japanese flavor.
Thus, for this meal you want to put your tofu (firm, with excess water squeezed out, cut into bite-size chunks) in a Japanese-style sauce. Try our Teriyaki Tofu or Spicy Peanut Sauce or Tangy Honey-Apricot Tofu recipe, or make up something of your own, or use sauce from a bottle. With any sauce other than peanut (which doesn’t stand up to lengthy cooking), I like to simmer the tofu in the sauce for a long time so that it really soaks in. If you don’t like your tofu squishy, try browning it in a lightly oiled pan before adding sauce. (Detailed instructions for this method are in the Tangy Honey-Apricot Tofu recipe.)
There are two approaches to the vegetables:
- Steam them. We particularly like broccoli in this meal.
- Skizzle them. This means cooking in a skillet or wok over high heat, stirring rapidly, with sesame oil and maybe salt and pepper, until browned. Veggies need to be sliced very thinly. This works well with cabbage. (You do not need cabbage nengkan to skizzle some cabbage.) Salty String Beans are another option of the skizzled variety.
If you want to get fancy, you can also have some raw veggies for garnishes: bean sprouts, match-sticked radishes or carrots, cilantro, etc. You can have some chopped peanuts. You can have a scrambled egg. Whatever you have handy that seems like it might be found in a Japanese noodle bowl is worth trying!
To serve, put some noodles in the bottom of a deep soup bowl. If veggies are steamed, put them and the tofu in separate piles on top of noodles. If veggies are skizzled, put tofu on top of noodles and veggies on top of tofu. Add any garnishes. Eat with chopsticks, if you like.
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