15 Jul tofu + noodles
Tofu gets a hard time in the kitchen. It’s an ingredient that many cooks aren’t quite sure what to do with. That is, apart from the vegetarians and vegans who already know of its delicious potential, of course. I’ve never quite figured out a way of cooking, apart from full on deep-frying it, that didn’t result in a bland let-down. I’m not a fan of the spongy, deep-fried variety you might get in below-par Asian restaurant. But, not one to give up, I’ve been determined to find a simple way of cooking tofu at home that might make me reach for it more often, as a meat substitute for a mid-week speedy supper.
Over a recent weekend, a vegan friend came to visit from the UK, and with him he brought his method for roasting tofu. For dinner, I did the veg while he prepped the tofu. He cut them into cubes and smeared them with a miso paste mix, sprinkling with sesame seeds as he went. He roasted them in the oven until they billowed out like cushions, and we ate them straight out of the oven, mixed in with noodles and miso-glazed greens.
And, yes, if you’ve been following this column, you’ll recognize the basis of this miso glaze. I’m still into it! I’ve been seeing how many recipes can be enhanced using this simple mix of miso, mirin and rice wine vinegar, and tofu is most certainly one of those recipes.
For the green veg, we’ve used pak choi and tenderstem broccoli. Pak choi grows really well in Ireland, and it’s very easy to find Irish-grown pak choi in your supermarket. Tenderstem broccoli fries up so well, and its longer stems make it a crunchy addition to a speedy stir-fry. This bowl of tofu, noodles and greens comes together very quickly once the tofu has had its roasting time, so read through the whole recipe and get all your ingredients ready for you get started.
Tofu and Noodles
2 tablespoons of miso paste (red or brown will do)
2 tablespoons of mirin
1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
Half a lime
1 tablespoon of chilli flakes
2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds
250g pack of firm tofu
Sunflower or vegetable oil, for frying
About 300g of green veg pak choireens
300g pack of egg noodles
- In a bowl, mix together the miso paste, mirin, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime and mix everything really well.
- Remove the tofu from its packaging and slice into about twelve cubes. Use a pastry brush to spread the miso paste mixture onto the tofu cubes. You’ll have a good bit of miso paste left over.
- Sprinkle the tofu evenly with the chilli flakes. Roll them in the sesame seeds. Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper, and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 200c/180c fan/gas mark 6.
- When the tofu is nearly done, heat a bit of sunflower or vegetable oil in a large wok or frying pan over a medium to high heat. Slice the pak choi into smaller chunks and give them a good wash. Add the tenderstem broccoli and pak choi to the pan for 3 minutes. Add the rest of your miso paste mixture to the pan, and stir so that the vegetables are well coated. Turn down the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for another few minutes while you cook your noodles.
- Cook your noodles according to the packet’s instructions. They shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to boil in hot water. Drain and divide into two bowls.
- Put the roasted tofu into the pan with the miso paste and green vegetables. Stir gently so that the tofu gets recovered in more of that yummy miso sauce, before dividing between the two bowls on top of the noodles. Serve with an extra sprinkling of chilli, or some fresh chilli if you like.
This recipe first appeared in The Irish Independent on 14th July 2016