Cooking With Confidence
Health in a bowl!
Healthy, Main Dishes, Pasta, Soups, Vegetarian

Soba Noodles with Tofu

by Nick

My mom bought Betsy a subscription to this magazine called Body & Soul last year. It has tons of tips about yoga and working out along with productivity tips like how to get better cuticles and save your marriage at the same time. It’s kind of an all-purpose clean up your life magazine I guess.

Ok. I’ll be honest. I’ve never really read it, but that’s the impression that I get. What I do read in it though is the recipes. I read the recipes occasionally because I get flack sometimes for not posting enough healthy recipes and this magazine is jam-packed full of healthy recipes.

Case in point: This amazing soba noodle dish cooked in a ginger broth with tofu and lots of veggies.

I’m always a bit skeptical of recipes that appear to be too healthy because I worry that they lack in the flavor department. I was worried about this recipe for that reason. Turns out I was right to worry. The broth ended up being kind of bland.

If I were to make it again, which I’m sure I will as I did really like the dish anyway, I would make the below changes.

Yield
Serves 4.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Soba Noodles with Tofu in Ginger Broth

Ingredients

  • 8 Scallions (1 bunch approx.). Separate the green and white parts and loosely chop both.
  • 2-3 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 - 1/2 Teaspoon red pepper flakes (not in the original, but I think it could use some heat)
  • 8 ounces of soba noodles (The recipe calls for 6 ounces which is ridiculous since soba comes in 8 ounce boxes)
  • 1 package (14 ounces) extra-firm tofu
  • 1 head baby bok choy, roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces snap peas (about 1.5 cups) trimmed and halved
  • 1 red serrano pepper or red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Canola or Veg oil for cooking the tofu
  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (original recipe calls for black sesame seeds)

Directions

1) Roughly chop ginger, scallions, and garlic.

2) Add these things (reserve the scallion greens for later) along with the red pepper flakes to a large pot with 8 Cups of water.

3) Bring this to a simmer and cover. Let the broth simmer for about 25 minutes or longer until it’s flavorful.

4) Drain the tofu from its package and press gently on it with a few paper towels to remove some moisture.

5) Cut the tofu into about 1/2 inch cubes.

6) Get all the other ingredients ready before you start cooking the tofu. This means wash and chop the snap peas, bok choy, and scallion greens.

7) Heat about 4 Tablespoons of oil (just enough to cover the bottom of a nonstick pan) over high heat. Once it’s hot add the tofu!

8) Let it cook for a few minutes on each side. Remove the tofu to a paper towel to drain off some of the extra oil.

9) Toast up those sesame seeds. Just add them to a dry skillet and put them over medium heat. Watch them closely because they will go from toasted perfectly to burned black in about 30 seconds.

10) Strain the broth to remove all of ginger and garlic and onion bits.

11) After the broth is strained, bring it back to a boil and add soy sauce.

12) Add soba noodles and cook for the time on package minus a minute or two.

13) Add peppers, bok choy, and peas. Cook until the veggies are tender. For me that was another 2-3 minutes.

14) Serve it with the tofu on top sprinkled with the sesame seeds and scallions.

Adapted from a Body and Soul recipe.

Making the broth

This broth is what worried me in the original recipe. I just didn’t feel like there was enough flavor to it. I think my enhancements above will give it some needed kick.

To make the broth, roughly chop your ginger, scallions, and garlic:

Flavortown.

Flavor town.

Add these things (reserve the scallion greens for later) along with the red pepper flakes to a large pot with 8 Cups of water. Bring this to a simmer and cover. Let the broth simmer for about 25 minutes or longer until it’s flavorful.

Prepping the Tofu

Drain your tofu from its package and press gently on it with a few paper towels to remove some moisture.

Follow the cutting pattern below to make 24 roughly equal cubes of tofu:

Crooked cutting...

Crooked cutting…

Heat about 4 Tablespoons of oil (just enough to cover the bottom of a nonstick pan) over high heat. Once it’s hot add your tofu! Let it cook for a few minutes on each side. I’m not really obsessive about making sure that each side is perfectly browned, but I try to get most of the sides browned nicely.

Remove the tofu to a paper towel to drain off some of the extra oil.

Fried up.

This is how I like my tofu!

Prepping the other things

Get all of your other ingredients ready before you start cooking the tofu. This means wash and chop your snap peas, bok choy, and scallion greens.

If you aren’t familiar with bok choy it’s basically a very leafy cabbage. Just pull off the leaves, wash them well, and chop each leaf into a few strips. If you can’t get cabbage I would substitute spinach or Swiss Chard maybe.

Lots of green stuff.

Lots of green stuff.

If you’re using them, now is a good time to toast up those sesame seeds also. Just add them to a dry skillet and put them over medium heat. Watch them closely because they will go from toasted perfectly to burned black in about 30 seconds.

Lightly toasted.

Lightly toasted.

Cooking the Soba

If you’ve never used soba noodles before, you basically cook them just like pasta. So don’t worry about that. The noodle is made from buckwheat flour though so it has a much different flavor than normal pasta. It tastes almost nutty. I love the flavor actually.

Also, soba is great hot or cold and it doesn’t get as sticky as regular pasta when it’s cold.

Soba is not so blah.

Soba is not so blah.

Remember that broth? We are going to cook the soba in the broth! Before you cook it though, strain the broth to remove all of ginger and garlic and onion bits. Those shouldn’t have any flavor anymore. All of their flavor has been transferred to the broth.

Here’s the cooking order:

1. After your broth is strained, bring it back to a boil and add soy sauce.
2. Add soba noodles and cook for the time on package minus a minute or two. You don’t want them cooked completely at this step.
3. Add peppers, bok choy, and peas. Cook until the veggies are tender. For me that was another 2-3 minutes. You still want the veggies to be a bit crisp.

The final bowl should look something like this!

Your kitchen will smell good!

Your kitchen will smell good!

Serve it with the tofu on top sprinkled with the sesame seeds and scallions.

A very light broth.

A very light broth.

If you’re a very observant reader, you’ll note that I added a sprinkle of Thai Chile Sauce to the noodles in the first photo of this post. That’s just because I wanted a bit more heat!

So, let it ring from the hills. Nick made something healthy.

Tomorrow’s post? Bacon-wrapped Cheese Surprise!

Just kidding.

Maybe.

Share this post!

5 comments on “Soba Noodles with Tofu

  1. This looks really good — I use soba noodles a lot (I'm a sucker for noodle bowls). What I found especially funny about your first paragraph is that you basically summed up the content of like 90% of "woman's" magazines out there (without reading any of them, I'm sure). They do often have recipes though…

  2. This does look good, but if I made it, I would double the amount of noodles. I'm a 70/30 noodles to broth type of girl. ;-P

  3. This looks awesome, and it’s perfect timing because I have a bunch of tofu to use up! I’ve never tried cooking tofu this way, so it should be an experience. Thanks!

  4. Wonderful dish there Nick. Couple of things:

    1) The broth is intentionally light in a dish like this, because the star of the show is supposed to be the soba noodles. I have some that come in 1 KG packages that cost $18 for the pack!

    2) I love that you added your chillies at the end. A dish like this is light, and usually at a restaurant you pick out your garnish, and the dish is made.

    3) I like to coat the tofu in cornstarch before frying for extra texture.

    Nice photo as well.

Leave a Comment