This one’s for the tofu lovers. And the tofu haters. A gingery marinade and bake in the oven yields tofu that’s anything but slimy and bland. Perfectly crisped on the edges, this flavorful rendition serves as a great introduction to the ingredient.
I picked this recipe up off of the New York Times Recipes for Health column, which as I’ve expressed before, generally churns out tons of great ideas. It’d been awhile since I made a sesame soba noodle dish, so I decided to give this one a go.
Every time I eat soba noodles, I’m pretty sure I decide that I like them better than traditional Italian pasta. They are extra nutty from the buckwheat in which they’re derived, and have this chewy texture that won’t ache your jaw like an al dente pasta might do. Soba is also unusually smooth on the outside and lends itself well to both cold and hot dishes. For instance, I enjoyed this recipe under both circumstances.
While I’m on this PR pitch for soba noodles, let me also mention the variety is also lower in calories and carbs than traditional wheat pastas, and contains a lower glycemic index. This means your blood sugar is less likely to spike than with wheat pasta (particularly non-whole wheat varieties). Blood sugar spikes ensue energy crashes, the food hangovers we’d all like to avoid.
So have I sold you yet? Do you want to make your own soba noodles and crispy tofu? This New York Times recipe is another winner. For an extra satisfying punch, I recommend topping your plate with a drizzle of sesame tahini and Sriracha if you enjoy some heat.
Via NY Times
- For the tofu:
- 1/2 pound tofu
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon canola, rice bran oil or grape seed oil
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- For the salad:
- 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths (about 2 cups)
- Salt to taste
- 3/4 pound soba noodles
- 1/4 cup dark sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon of the tofu marinade
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced or pureed
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon hot chile oil or 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)(I used 1/4 tsp. and didn't find the results too spicy)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (to taste)
- 1 tablespoon lightly toasted sesame seeds or black sesame seeds (I omitted these, but they'd add a beautiful finishing touch)
- Make the baked tofu: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment/aluminum foil. Pat the tofu dry with paper towels and cut into dominoes, about 1/3 inch thick. In a large, wide bowl whisk together all of the marinade ingredients for the tofu. Pat each piece of tofu with paper towels, then dip into the marinade, making sure to coat both sides. Transfer to the baking sheet. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes*, until the edges are just beginning to color and the marinade sets on the surface of the tofu. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
- *I ended up baking mine for 15-20 minutes. I generously coated the tofu slices in the marinade. The key is that you want to make sure you end up with crispy-edges, so bake until this is achieved.
- Bring 3 or 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt to taste and the green beans. Boil 5 minutes and using a slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer to a bowl of cold water and drain. Set aside.
- Bring the water back to a boil. Add the soba gradually, so that the water remains at a boil, and stir once with a long-handled spoon or pasta fork so that the noodles don’t stick together. Wait for the water to come back up to a rolling boil – it will bubble up, so don’t fill the pot all the way – and add 1 cup of cold water. Allow the water to come back to a rolling boil and add another cup of cold water. Allow the water to come to a boil one more time and add a third cup of water. When the water comes to a boil again, the noodles should be cooked through. Drain and toss with 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil. (If using rice noodles, boil 5 to 6 minutes without adding the water, until cooked al dente).
- Whisk together 1 Tbsp of the tofu marinade, the rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, hot chile oil or cayenne, soy sauce, remaining sesame oil and buttermilk. Pour over the noodles, add the beans, tofu and cilantro, and gently toss together.
- Heat a wide skillet over medium-high heat and add the noodle salad. Toss in the pan until heated through and serve.