Soba Noodles with Kale and Tofu

Soba Noodles with Kale and Tofu (640x480)

I have tons of unorganized food photos and half-written blog posts just waiting for me to combine and publish. I’ve been trying to spend a little time each week to organize my photos and then try to match them to an incomplete blog posts. Progress has been slow.

I initially made this soba noodle dish over a year and a half ago. At the time my mother was here helping me out (with my crazy toddler) while I was healing from a torn calf muscle. I remember really enjoying the dish, but lost the recipe so I haven’t been able to make it again. I recently searched for and found the blog where I had initially found the recipe. Yay!

Here is the original blog post:

If I remember correctly, I pretty much followed her recipe with the exception of not using green onions/scallions (I rarely buy green onions and didn’t have any on hand). I also didn’t use the furikake because it contains fish (my mom is a vegetarian) and instead just sprinkled the dish with sesame seeds. I definitely recommend this recipe. I’m excited that I was able to find it again and I will be making it soon.

Orange Tofu and Broccoli

Three weeks ago I tore my calf muscle while testing for my green belt in Tae Kwon Do. Recovery has been slow and I am still unable to walk. Luckily, I can still cook. My kitchen is small enough that I can hobble around on one foot and do what I need to do. My hubby has been out of town quite a bit the past two weeks, so my vegan mom flew in to help me take care of my kids (especially the crazy toddler) and the house while I am recovering. This is one of the vegan meals I prepared for her. I served it with brown rice and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Orange Tofu and Broccoli

Canola oil (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 (16 ounce) package firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup warm water
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sriracha (or to taste)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoon canola oil
1 bunch broccoli, seperated into bite-sized florets
3 carrots, sliced on a diagonal

Lay the tofu slices on paper towels and then pat with additional paper towels to remove moisture. Heat the canola oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Place the 1/4 cup cornstarch in a dish. Coat the tofu slices with the cornstarch and gently shake off excess.

Fry the tofu in batches in the hot oil until golden brown on all sides (about 5 minutes). Drain tofu on paper towels. Allow wok to cool, and wipe clean.

In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, orange juice, water, sugar, sriracha, garlic, and cornstarch. Mix until smooth and set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil in the wok over high heat. Stir-fry the broccoli and carrots until tender. Form a well in the center of the vegetables, and pour in the orange sauce. Bring sauce to a boil and then add the fried tofu. Continue cooking until the sauce is thickened and the tofu and vegetables are well coated.

Tofu Jorim

This is another Korean side dish I made recently. Wow! I can see an addiction coming on.  Tofu jorim reminds me of tofu I used to get from a place in Arlington, Texas called Viet Tofu. Incredibly flavorful, with the typical Asian balance of salty, sweet, and spicy flavors.

A few years ago, I figured out the secret to really great fried tofu. You have to toss the tofu with flour or cornstarch (or a combination of both) before frying.  The flour or cornstarch keeps the tofu from sticking to the pan and creates a nice little crust, yet keeping the inside moist. Tofu fried this way holds up well in soups and curry sauces. It is also a nice appetizer, especially when paired with a sweet chili sauce.

Tofu Jorim

1 package tofu (firm or extra firm)
flour or cornstarch

4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon Korean red pepper powder
2 green onions, sliced

Drain the liquid off the block of tofu. Cut into fourths lengthwise and then slice  across (about 1/4 ”  to 1/2″ thick). At this point, I usually lay the tofu slices out on paper towels and cover with more paper towels to remove excess moisture. Dredge tofu in flour or cornstarch, shaking off excess. Gently fry in batches in hot oil,turning occasionally, until golden. Remove the tofu from the oil and let drain on paper towels.

Once the tofu is fried, combine soy sauce, honey, minced garlic, red pepper powder,  and green onions in a skillet over medium heat. Add the fried tofu to the sauce, and let simmer, occasionally turning the tofu to ensure coverage. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Tofu jorim can be served warm or cold.

Buddhist Vegetarian Stew (Lo Han Jai)

Buddhist Vegetarian Stew (Lo Han Jai)

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to enjoy this one.  It’s such a cinch to make.  It’s beautiful to look at and tastes even better.

I made a couple of changes from the recipe, based on the ingredients I could find and the ingredients I had in the fridge or pantry.  I didn’t have the cellophane or mung bean noodles, so I cooked up some black rice vermicelli separately (plain rice vermicelli would be fine too) and just laddled the stew over the cooked noodles.  I couldn’t find fresh mung bean sprouts, so I left them out.  I also couldn’t find snow peas, so I added frozen sugar snap peas and they were a bit mushy for my tastes, fresh would have been much, much better.  I did make sure to add the cloud ear/black fungus….it’s my new favorite ingredient…I just love it’s texture. Squeaky. You can find the dried shiitake mushrooms and black fungus at Asian markets.

Buddhist Vegetarian Stew (Lo Han Jai)

We give thanks to the many beings who helped bring us this food. -Zen Mealtime Prayer

1 ounce (about 8) dried shiitake mushroom
1/2 cup cloud ear/black fungus, dried mushrooms
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots, sliced and drained
1 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 carrot, julienned
3 cups shredded Napa cabbage
3 cups vegetable broth
2 ounces bean threads, cellophane or mung vermicelli
1 cup firm tofu, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
16 snow peas, strings removed, julienned
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed well with 4-5 Tbls cold water
1 teaspoon Oriental sesame oil
2 to 3 cups hot water

Soak shiitake in hot water for 30 minutes. Soak cloud ear (or wood ear) fungus in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain and reserve water from both types of mushrooms for later use. Remove and discard shiitake stems, and leave most whole (cut large ones into halves or quarters. Cut cloud ear fungus into small pieces.

In a wok, stir-fry mushrooms, cloud ear fungus, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, carrot, and cabbage, in oil on high for 4 minutes. Add broth, mushroom water, and bean threads. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add tofu, snow peas, bean sprouts, and soy sauce.  Cover and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in cornstarch mixture and continue to cook until sauce thickens.  Drizzle with sesame oil and serve.