Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wok This Way

Normally I try to shop for a week's worth of food at a time, but sometimes I overestimate how many vegetables we're going to eat.  Because of that I always keep a package of tofu on hand for stir-fry.  This doesn't pretend to be an authentic Asian dish, but it's low-fat, relatively low-sodium, tastes good, and is flexible enough to use up whatever leftover veggies are lurking in the refrigerator.

Tofu Stir-Fry with Soba Noodles

1 bundle (about 3 ounces) soba noodles
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 scallions (green onions) cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into small strips
1 cup sliced fresh or soaked dry mushrooms
1 cup chopped celery or fennel
2 cups sliced bok choy or cabbage
1 12-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Pepper and (if necessary) salt to taste

Cook the soba noodles according to the instructions on the package; drain and set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, cilantro, ginger and garlic; set aside.  Heat half the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.  Stir-fry the vegetables in batches (about 2-3 minutes each), removing when crisp-tender.  Add the rest of the oil as needed.  When the vegetables are cooked, stir-fry the tofu briefly.  Add the sauce and stir until the tofu is coated with it and the remaining sauce is slightly reduced.  Return the vegetables to the wok and add the noodles.  Stir until all ingredients are coated with sauce and heated through.  Eat immediately.  Makes two substantial servings.

Variations: Add red pepper flakes for more zip.  If you don't want a vegetarian dish, add chicken, small shrimp, or lean pork, or substitute one of them for the tofu.  Experiment with exotic mushrooms, water chestnuts, and bean sprouts.  If you don't care for the flavor of buckwheat, use udon rather than soba noodles, or omit the noodles and serve the stir-fry over brown rice.

"As long as there's pasta and Chinese food in the world, I'm okay."  ~Michael Chang

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