Category: Asian

Where I Have Been

April 5, 2013

Hello Friends.

The first quarter of 2013 is over and I have not a lot of food posts to show for it.  There are several reasons for the quiet on this site.  One is still adjusting to a new life and new rhythm in a new city.  I was far busier in Seattle and yet posted much more frequently.  More proof that the busier I am, the more productive I am.  Another reason is some technical problems with my web host and just general internet yuck.

But the main reason is that I just haven’t been feeling all that good.  I’ve never mentioned this here, but I suffer from acid reflux.  I had it bad with both of my pregnancies and after I had Spencer, it never went away.  I’ve had tests done over the years and have been able to control it very well with a mild medication.  Until recently.  For some reason that is not easily explained, my reflux got completely out of control about two months ago.  I went from falling asleep easily every night, to being up for hours trying to get the stomach pain and constant buzzing in the back of my throat (from stomach acid) to go away enough for me to doze off.  The discomfort is with me during the day too, just not as much in the front of my mind in the daylight.  I don’t feel bad all the time but much of the time.  Being in a new city, I was a little lost and finding the right person to go see was much more difficult than in my home town.

I’ve done more tests and switched medications and the bottom line is that I’ve been feeling  pretty terrible much of the time.  I am on something new that apparently takes a while to start working so I am holding on hoping that that is true.  (UPDATE: For the past couple of days, I have been feeling better.  I guess the new medicine is working after all.  Phew!) As you do in these situations, I went to Facebook and asked for advice from friends.  What are you taking?  What has worked for you?  A number of people said they had seen naturopaths and found out they had food intolerances and their reflux cleared up after they eliminated those foods.  Not really knowing what else to do, I decided to put myself on an elimination diet.  I cut out everything I thought might be giving me trouble.  Caffeine, alcohol, sugar, soy, wheat, grains, beans, dairy.  Because I don’t eat meat, that meant I was eating eggs, fruits and vegetables, quinoa, and nuts and seeds.  I did this for four weeks and I did not feel one bit better.  No change in my stomach issues, no sudden glow to my skin, no bounce in my step.  So, obviously, I have gone back to eating my regular (mostly) healthy diet.

So essentially, I have not been writing glowing posts about delicious things I have been making because my stomach has been hurting and because I have been cooking in an extremely limited fashion.  But here is the thing.  I made some tasty things, even with the restrictions I put on myself.  That polenta was a super satisfying dinner.  And I made several different kinds of Thai curry, all of them with my new favorite Kabocha squash which goes so well in curry, all of them with homemade curry paste, all of them satisfying.  I am glad that I can eat out again without worrying about what I will order and glad to have all my choices available again.  I am interested to note that I am not rushing back to certain things – sugar for one.

I used one of my favorite cookbooks, Real Vegetarian Thai, for my curry paste recipes and I have found that the red curry is much spicier than the green.  This green paste is mild but with so much flavor that I really encourage you to make your own.  It doesn’t take long at all and it will keep for up to a month in your refrigerator.  I find that, because the green is so mild, I use about half of a batch for one pot of curry, but you may use less.  If you don’t want to make your own paste but still want to make the curry, Thai Kitchen makes a decent curry paste that is vegetarian.  It is pretty spicy though so be careful adding it to the stew.  Kabocha squash is kind of round-ish and the skin can be either green or orange.  I have found that the orange ones have a better texture.  Either way, the skin is edible.  Just be really careful cutting into them!

One Year Ago:  Holly B’s Savory Brioches
Two Years Ago:  Eggplant and Mushroom Pasticcio, Lemon Cream Tart (the best lemon tart!)
Three Years Ago:  Holly B’s Cinnamon Rolls, Baked Rice with Chiles and Pinto Beans
Four Years Ago:  Spicy Sweet Potatoes with Lime, Marinated Chickpea Salad with Radishes and Cucumber

Thai Green Curry with Kabocha Squash and Shiitake Mushrooms
Dana Treat Original (curry paste from Real Vegetarian Thai)
Serves 3-4

I made this twice in two weeks.  The first time I did not use tofu because I was not eating soy.  I used a drained can of bamboo shoots to bulk it up.  I think it is better with a bit of tofu, but it is up to you.  This makes a nice thick curry.  If you want more liquid, you can add more coconut milk or even a bit of vegetable broth or water.  Finally, I used to always use low fat coconut milk in my curries but I am SO over that.  The real stuff tastes about 1000% better.

For the curry paste:
4 fresh green jalapeño chiles
1 tbsp. whole coriander seed
1 tsp. whole cumin seed
5 while or black peppercorns
3 stalks lemongrass
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems
2 shallots, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. roughly chopped ginger or galangal
Zest of 1 lime
1 tsp. salt

For the stew:
Coconut, peanut, or canola oil
3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced
1 14-ounce can full fat coconut milk
1 small kabocha squash, seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
6 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into 1-inch pieces
Handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
Kosher or sea salt

Make the curry paste:
Stem the chiles, chop them coarsely, and set aside.  In a small skillet over medium heat, dry-fry the coriander seeds until they darken a shade or two, shaking the pan or stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes.  Tip out onto a saucer.  Toast the cumin seeds in the same way, until they darken and release their rich aroma, 1 to 2 minutes.  Grind the two spices along with the pepper in a coffee or spice grinder, or in a mortar and pestle.

To prepare the lemongrass, trim away and discard any root section below the bulb base, and cut away the top portion, leaving a stalk about 6 inches long including the base.  Remove any dried, wilted, and yellowed leaves.  Finely chop the stalk.

Combine the lemongrass, the chopped chiles, and the ground toasted spices with the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and grind them to a fairly smooth paste, stopping often to scrape down the sides and adding a few tablespoons of water as needed to move the blades.

Make the stew:
Place a wide pot over medium heat.  Add just enough oil of your choice to coat the bottom, then add the shallots and a large pinch of salt.  Allow the shallots to cook, stirring often, until they are soft and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.  Next add the red pepper and the shiitake mushrooms.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms and peppers are starting to soften and brown in spots, about 10 minutes.

Move the vegetables over to one side of the pot.  Pour in about ¼ of the coconut milk and then spoon in a couple of tablespoons of the curry paste.  Mash the paste into the coconut milk to combine, then stir the mixture together with the vegetables.  Pour in the rest of the coconut milk and turn up the heat.  Taste the liquid to see if you need more curry paste and add as needed.  When it comes to a boil, add the squash and the tofu.  Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover, and cook until the squash is fork tender, about 20 minutes.  Just before serving, taste for salt and shower with the chopped cilantro.  Serve with jasmine or basmati rice.

Green Curry Noodles

February 10, 2012

Last weekend, the boys and I went to the West Seattle farmer’s market.  It is one of the three markets that stay open all year.  Although it is a bit of a hike from our house, I like this market because it is food only, some of the very best vendors are there, it doesn’t feel crowded, they often have music and little seats set up for children, and it’s in the middle of a thriving business district.  The weather last week was glorious and it almost felt like spring was just around the corner.  A trip to the market made me realize that winter is definitely still here.

I find the farmers’ market inspiring, even in February.  After making that amazing Sweet Winter Slaw five times in two weeks, I had seen a lot of Savoy cabbage – but not like this one.  How could I not buy this beauty?  And with delicata squash in the basket right next to it, a dish began to form in my mind.  Green curry, lots of shallots, rice noodles, sweet squash, cabbage cooked down to wilted.  Sounds good, no?

It was good.  Lovely really.  Warming, hearty, healthy.  I think those three words are magic in the wintertime.  If you can find or create a dish that warms your toes, fills your belly, and doesn’t weigh you down, life is pretty good.

Allow me to try to convince you to make your own curry paste.  Yes, I know that you can buy a nice little jar of it that lasts almost indefinitely in your refrigerator.  I have two of those jars myself, one green and one red.  The problem is that the consistency is similar to cement, so it can be a little difficult to incorporate into a dish.  It also has essentially two flavors.  Hot and salty.  There is no nuance there.  Just spicy and savory.  Nothing wrong with that if you are having a curry crisis.  But homemade is quick to make, has much more subtle flavor, a much looser consistency, and will also keep for a while in your fridge.  (I would say a  month.  You can freeze it for up to six.)  The ingredients are all natural – lemongrass, jalapeño peppers, cilantro, shallot, garlic.  If you love these ingredients, please give the curry a try.

One Year Ago:  Spicy Sweet and Savory Cauliflower
Two Years Ago:  Pesto Parmesan Cornbread
Three Years Ago:  Red Curry with Winter Vegetables and Cashews (recipe for red curry in this one!  coincidence!)

Green Curry Noodles with Cabbage and Squash

Dana Treat Original
Serves 4

While you should never rinse your Italian style noodles, rice noodles do need a good rinse.  This step will keep them from sticking together.  Both Savory and Napa cabbage would work here.  I wouldn’t use green as it will take to long to soften and purple will turn your whole dish a crazy color.  Finally, if you do decide to use a commercial curry paste, I would start with one tablespoon and add more later to your taste.

10 ounces extra firm tofu, blotted dry and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tbsp. soy sauce, divided (I like tamari)
8 ounces rice noodles, linguine width
Canola, peanut, or coconut oil
6 ounces shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Kosher or sea salt
½ medium delicata squash, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin rounds
2-3 tbsp. homemade Green Curry Paste (recipe follows)
½ head Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1 14-ounce can coconut milk (can be “lite”)
1 cup vegetable broth
½ cup chopped cilantro, plus a few whole leaves for garnish

Place the tofu in a large ziploc bag.  Sprinkle in two tablespoons of the soy sauce and give the bag a vigorous shake.  Allow the tofu to marinate while you prepare the noodles.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Turn off the heat and add the rice noodles to the pot.  Allow to sit for ten minutes, stirring occasionally, then taste.  The noodles should be al dente.  Allow them to sit for another few minutes if they are too firm, then drain.  Immediately rinse very well with cold water.  Run your hands through the noodles to make sure the water reaches the ones on the bottom.  Allow to drain well.  Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Drizzle in just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Carefully add the tofu to the pan, making sure that all the pieces are touching the bottom of the pan.  Allow to cook for about 3 minutes on one side then, using tongs, turn all the pieces over.  They may stick a little and that is ok.  If you have the patience, you can brown all sides of the tofu, but I usually stop at two.  Scrape the tofu to a plate and sprinkle with salt.  Set aside.

Return the skillet to the heat.  Drizzle in a bit more oil and then add the shallots and sauté, tossing occasionally, until the shallots are soft and starting to brown in places, about 6 minutes.  Add the squash and the carrot, then spoon in the curry paste.  If you are nervous about the heat, just use two tablespoons to start.  Give everything a good stir.  Add the cabbage and toss until the cabbage starts to wilt, about another 5 minutes.  Pour in the coconut milk and the broth and the other 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.  Toss to coat well, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover.  Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the lid and taste the broth.  You might want to add more curry paste or more soy sauce.  Once it is to your liking, add the tofu and chopped cilantro and cook for another 5 minutes.  Check the squash and carrot to make sure they are tender and also adjust the liquid amount to your taste.  If you prefer a saucier dish, add more stock.  If you want it drier, allow the mixture to cook without the lid to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.

To serve, place a bundle of noodles in the bottom of a shallow bowl and ladle on the vegetables and tofu in their sauce.  Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Green Curry Paste
Adapted from Real Vegetarian Thai
Makes about 1½ cups

1 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
½ tsp. freshly ground black or white pepper
3 stalks lemongrass
4 fresh green jalapeño chilies, seeded for a milder heat, roughly chopped
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
2 medium shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped or grated fresh ginger
Zest of 1 lime
1 tsp. kosher or sea salt

In a small skillet over medium heat, dry-fry the coriander and cumin seeds until they turn a shade or two darker, shaking the pan and stirring often, about 3 minutes.  Turn out onto a plate to cool.  Grind the spices in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle.  Set aside.

To prepare the lemongrass, trim away and discard any root section below the bulb base, and cut away the top portion, leaving a stalk about 6 inches long, including the base.  Pull off the out layer and then thinly slice the rest.

Combine the lemongrass, chopped chilies, cilantro, shallots, garlic, ginger, lime zest, salt, and spices in a mini food processor or a blender.  Pulse to combine to a smooth paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  You might need to add just a couple tablespoons of water to keep the blades moving.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.


Big Curry Noodle Pot

December 30, 2011

Randy and I used to get Thai food almost every Friday night for dinner.  Or at least every Friday night that wasn’t a date night.  It was our wind-down from a long week, a break from cooking for me, and something we both enjoyed.  Seattle has great Thai food and there are five or six places nearby that we like.  After a few years of this tradition, I started to feel like the food tasted great but I could just see how unhealthy it was.  The oil slick in the bottom of the noodles dish, the coating on my tongue from the curry.  Tasty but not healthy.  And so, we opted for other food on Friday nights, namely my cooking.

Earlier this week, Graham had surgery for a hernia.  It sounds bad but the truth is that children recover surprisingly quickly from this type of surgery.  He has had one other operation, an umbilical hernia repair.  This was an operation to repair his belly button which was sticking out more than normal – really a cosmetic procedure.  So now, at the grand old age of seven, he has had the same number of surgeries as his 41-year old mother.  (I’ve had 2 c-sections.)

Because the doctors and nurses were so blasé about the surgery and how quickly it would be over and how well he would do, I planned to make dinner.  But of course they did not start on time and the operation took an hour instead of a half, and they kept him in recovery longer because he was having pain.  (The recovery room nurse asked him how he was feeling and he said, “I would feel better if my penis didn’t hurt so much.”)  I got to go back in the OR with him to hold his hand while they put him under with strawberry scented gas and watching his little eyes flutter closed broke my heart.  It became clear, on the eventual drive home, that take-out was our dinner option.  It had been so long since our last Thai dinner that I thought it sounded good.  And it was good.  But after a few bites, I remembered why we stopped our regular practice.  I carefully picked my noodles out of the slick and decided that this was a once in a while treat.

I love those flavors and I love that food, but I don’t love the grease or the stomach ache I often get after eating it.  I have an ever rotating line up of Asian noodle dishes that I love and I’m happy to add this Heidi Swanson recipe to the roster.  Normally I use rice noodles but I appreciated a bit more heft from the wheat based udon noodles in this dish and the sauce was drinkable.  Seriously.  I tweaked a bit.  I added cilantro to the cooked sauce, I sautéed the shallots to almost burnt for the garnish because I don’t like members of the onion family to be raw.  I added a bit less liquid and then second-guessed myself.  All the things you do with a good recipe to make it more to your taste.  Delicious.

 One Year Ago:  Hearty Beans and Rice and Butternut Squash and Cashew Curry
Two Years Ago:  EggNog Pound Cake with Crystal Rum Glaze and Chickpea, Lentil, and Vegetable Stew
Three Years Ago:  Penne with Greek-Style Vegetable Marinade

Big Curry Noodle Pot
Adapted from Super Natural Cooking
Serves 3-4

2 tbsp. coconut oil or vegetable oil, divided
2 medium shallots, sliced into thin rings
Kosher salt
8 ounces dried Asian style wide noodles, such as udon
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
12 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into thumb-sized slices
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1½ cups water
2 tsp. ground tumeric
2 tbsp. shoyu sauce, or other soy sauce
1 tbsp. light brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime
¼ cup peanuts, chopped
½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped, divided

Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of the coconut or vegetable oil, then add the shallots.  Allow to cook undisturbed until golden brown on the underside, about 3 minutes.  Flip over and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until very brown.  Tip out onto a paper towel lined plate and season with salt.  Set aside.

Return saucepan to the burner and reduce heat to medium.  Add the other tablespoon of oil and then add the onions.  Cook for five minutes, then add the garlic and red curry paste.  Mash the paste around in the pan to distribute it evenly.  Cook until nice and fragrant, just a minute or two.  Add the tofu and gently stir until coated with the curry paste.  Stir in the coconut milk, water, tumeric, soy sauce, and sugar, bring to a simmer, and simmer gently until the sauce gets nice and thick, about 20 minutes.  Stir in half the cilantro leaves and the lime juice.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles in plenty of salted water according to the package directions.  When they are just shy of done, use tongs to transfer them directly to the saucepan with the curry sauce.  Stir in the lime juice.  To serve, heap big piles of noodles into individual bowls and top with a generous ladle of the sauce.  Top with peanuts, shallots and the remaining cilantro.

Soba Noodle Bowl

June 28, 2011

If you define summer as “school is out”, then this is the first week of summer in our house.  If you define summer as “sunshine and warm temperatures”, then we are still waiting.  This year, summer looks a little different for us.  Spencer’s preschool, the one Graham attended until he started kindergarten, goes all year.  There is no summer break except for a few days in August just before the official school year begins.  Which means that I have never had to make alternate summer plans for my kids – they just kept to their schedule at that sweet little school.

This year, Spencer will spend the summer in the beloved orange room of his school and I have found a fabulous day camp for Graham.  They go outside three times a day, go swimming twice a week, and go on a field trip every week.  (This week he will go to the Pacific Science Center which Spencer calls the Terrific Science Center and Graham calls the Perfect Science Center.  I don’t bother to correct them.)

Unlike during the school year, I will have both boys home with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  There are so many fun things to do in Seattle during these long days and I hope we get to a bit of everything.  I know we will have lots of lunch dates.

We don’t take our kids out for dinner that often but we do lunch out quite a bit.  One of their favorite places is a noodle joint called Boom Noodle.  The kids menu stars a bento box with fruit, rice, edamame, and tofu (or meat).  The boys get a huge kick out of it and usually clean their plate, er, box.  I always get the same thing there – a soba noodle salad with a super spicy wasabi kick.

I’ve been meaning to make this at home for a long time and when I found mizuna at the farmers’ market, I knew it was time.  I have no idea how to recreate that spicy dressing – it’s really more like a wasabi relish that is dabbed over the top, so I just left it off.  This tofu comes from another noodle bowl creation and I have to say, it is my very favorite way to eat tofu.  Even if you think you don’t like it, give it a try.

Three Years Ago: Turnip and Leek Gratin

Soba Noodle Bowl with Lemongrass Tofu
Dana Treat Original, Inspired by Boom Noodle
Serves 3

I would have preferred shiitake mushrooms in this dish but I used what I had on hand.

For the marinade:
2 inch pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 garlic clove, minced
2 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves removed, minced
6 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1½ tbsp. mirin
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. water
½-1 tsp. red pepper flakes

12 ounces extra-firm tofu, blotted dry and cut into 1-inch cubes
8 ounces soba noodles
1 tbsp. sesame oil
Canola oil
8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
½ an English cucumber, seeded, cut into 1-inch matchsticks
6 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 ounces mizuna, or other soft lettuce

Prepare the marinade and tofu:
Mix together all the ingredients except the tofu in a medium size bowl.  Taste for flavor balance and add more soy, honey, or lime juice to taste.  Put the tofu in a shallow baking dish (an 8×8-inch pan is perfect) and pour about 1/3 of the marinade over top.  Allow the tofu to sit for at least half an hour, turning the pieces periodically.  You can also refrigerate the pan, covered, for up to one day.  Reserve the rest of the marinade.  This will be your dressing.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Place the baking pan in the oven and bake until the marinade is absorbed and the tofu is developing a bit of outer crunch, 30 to 40 minutes.  Turn the tofu once during baking.  Set aside.

Prepare the rest of the ingredients:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the soba noodles and cook until just al dente, tasting to make sure, 5 to 6 minutes.  Pour the noodles into a colander and then immediately rinse with cold water.  Drain well, then toss with the tablespoon of sesame oil.  Set aside.

Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat.  Drizzle in just enough canola oil to coat the bottom, then add the mushrooms along with a large pinch of salt.  Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are nice and browned and there is no liquid in the pan.  Set aside.

Distribute the mizuna across the bottom of three serving bowls.  Divide the noodles between the bowls and then add small piles of the mushrooms, carrots, cucumbers, and tofu to each bowl.  Scatter the scallions and sesame seeds across the top and drizzle the reserved tofu marinade over everything as a dressing.  Pass additional sesame oil and soy sauce at the table.

This is Not a Guy Fieri Recipe

May 11, 2011

As a food blogger, I get offers from time to time.  Most of them are for things that actually make me laugh.  Why on earth would I want to publicize your product/blog/web site/personality if I have never heard of it or you?  Why would I want to give away a ham on my blog?  Here is a hint, check out my site and then ask me if I want to talk to the pork commission.

Sometimes something cool comes my way, like an offer to receive a “review copy” of a cookbook.  The thinking is that the publisher sends a copy of a new book to me, I like it, and talk it up on my blog.  Since I am always talking about cookbooks I like anyway, this is not a stretch for me.  A while back, I received an offer for Guy Fieri’s newest cookbook.  While getting a new free book in the mail was tempting, I sent a polite email back to the publisher thanking them but also explaining that Guy and I don’t really cook the same way.  I had never actually looked at any of his books, but I know enough about him and his tastes to think that others would appreciate the free book more than me.

Two weeks ago, this was sitting on my door step when I came home.  Now, I have nothing against Guy.  I have nothing against his food or his cooking.  It’s just not my style.  I know that dishes like Texas Hold ‘Em Sandwich and Crab and Asparagus Pizza and Chicken Avocado Egg Rolls might sound good to many people, but not to me.  No judgment, just not my thing.

This is more my thing.  I considered calling this post “This is Not Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Spring Vegetables” because, if I had wanted, I could have had that very dish at all three of our dinners last weekend.  Apparently, that dish is what vegetarians are offered in the Napa Valley at this time of year.  I opted out of the third night because, as good as Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Spring Vegetables can be, by the third night I was ready for a little something different.  Unfortunately, we were at Bouchon where my only other choices were side dishes and was that macaroni and cheese cheesy.  In other words, I came home feeling, as I often do after vacation, like I needed something very clean and healthy served alongside a large glass of water.

I played with this recipe a bit, making it even healthier than originally written.  If you are the type that things healthy means boring, I urge you to try this dish.  It is a 180 from the type of food we ate last weekend and probably Guy Fieri’s food, but no less flavorful.

Back to Guy.  I want to give this book away.  I don’t need it and I know one of you out there would benefit from some Guy in your kitchen.  This is the first of my giveaways to celebrate my three years blogging and 500 posts.  For that post I answered some FAQ’s.  Is there anything you want to know about me or the types of things I cook with or make?  Leave your question in the comments.  No question?  Just leave a comment with your favorite cookbook and I will pick a winner from the group.

One Year Ago:  Orange Grand Marnier Cake, 2 Amazing Sandwiches
Two Years Ago:
Noodles in Thai Curry Sauce, 2 Dips for Vegetables

Stir-Fried Sesame Broccoli and Tofu with Rice Noodles
Inspired by Deborah Madison
Serves 4

This recipe originally called for bean thread noodles but I couldn’t find any.  I substituted very thin (angle hair width) rice noodles which were great.  I would definitely try it with bean thread if you can find them.

10 ounces extra-firm tofu
6 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. roasted sesame oil
8 ounces very thin rice noodles
1 pound broccoli, cut into florets
Kosher salt
8 dried shiitake mushrooms, covered with near-boiling water
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced or grated
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
4 scallions, including the greens, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. mirin
2 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
Sesame seeds, for garnish

Cut the tofu into ¾-inch cubes.  In a shallow dish, whisk together 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, the rice wine vinegar, brown sugar and the sesame oil.  Add the tofu to the dish and turn to coat.  Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to boil.  Have a bowl of ice water ready.  Put the dry noodles in a large bowl.  Add the broccoli florets to the boiling water and allow to cook for 1 minute.  Turn off the heat and scoop the broccoli into the ice water bath.  Take the very hot water and carefully pour it over the rice noodles.  Drain the broccoli and set aside.  Once the noodles are tender, drain them as well and add them to the broccoli.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the tofu (no need for any oil at this point) and dry fry until the tofu is browned on all sides.  Add the remaining marinade to coat the tofu, then scrape it out onto a plate and season with salt.

Replace the skillet to the burner.  Add the vegetable oil followed by the ginger, garlic, jalapeño, and scallions.  Stir fry for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms and their soaking liquid, taking care to hold back any sediment at the bottom of the bowl.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Add the tofu, noodles, and broccoli and toss well to combine.  Stir together the remaining soy sauce and mirin and pour over the noodles.  Toss well again.  Stir in the cilantro and garnish with the sesame seeds.

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