Chinese noodles…and….tofu !?

23 August 2011 § 12 Comments

Okay, I know I promised borscht and caviar this week – that will come later, I promise – but in the meantime, this post is about tofu. Yes tofu: soggy, tasteless and very boring. You can probably tell that I’m not a fan.

Those pesky four-and-a-half-year-olds, The Ladies™,  nagged me into cooking it. For the LIFE of me, I could not get out of them how they knew of its dreary existence. But they did. Chances are, it has been via a process of osmosis: our lovely, liberal, urban township has more vegetarian infants than a group of militant Mahayana Buddhists. So… I gave in and acceded to their nagging demands. Next thing I know, I was making them Chinese noodles. And, much to everyone’s amazement they liked the tofu, and more surprisingly so did King Marv and I.

We started off well-intentioned with our chopsticks…

But then it got messy, very messy. Luckily we were eating outside.

Before cooking, I did a bit of research on tofu preparation and found that to minimize the wet blanket quotient, you need to dry the tofu first with paper towels. I wrapped it in paper towels, then I put a heavy dish on top and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. I changed the paper towel and did it again. Then I marinated it in ginger, soy and garlic, then baked it in cubes. It sounds like a bit of work, but those 20 minutes transformed tedious tofu into something quite edible.

Ingredients – serves 4

  • 1 pack of hard tofu, cubed
  • 9 0z medium egg noodles
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
  • A generous handful of broccoli florets
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • A handful of green beans, boiled for 3-4 minutes, then shocked in ice cold water so they keep their color
  • 2-3 tsp water
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds toasted (optional)

Marinade

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1″ piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce

First of all mix together the ingredients for the marinade in a shallow dish. Add the tofu (I prefer to dry it first as mentioned above, but not necessary) and spoon the marinade over. Refrigerate for 1 hour to marinate, turning the tofu occasionally.

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tofu from the marinade and reserve the liquid. Arrange tofu on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until the tofu pieces are golden and crisp on all sides.

Meanwhile cook the noodles in plenty of salted water according to the instructions on the packet, until the noodles are tender, but not sticky. Then drain them and rinse under cold, running water and drain again.

Heat a wok or heavy-based skillet, then add the oil. Add the pepper, broccoli, carrots and beans and stir-fry tossing continuously over a medium-high heat for 5-8 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Add the water and continue to stir-fry until the vegetables are just tender but remain slightly crunchy.

Stir in the marinade, noodles, tofu and spring onions, and stir-fry until heated through.

Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds, if using.

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