I’ve been meaning to make this recipe for a while but for some reason just hadn’t gotten around to it, plus Bob needed convincing that making a peanut sauce with soy nut butter would be good. The trick, I told him, was not to think of it as a peanut sauce replacement, but to just to consider it something new and probably yummy. He bought it. Hee Hee. And even took it upon himself to take care of browning the tofu while I put together the sauce. Evan said the other night…”Mommy, don’t you think Daddy is awesome?” Yup.
Actually, he said it was good and even Evan liked the bit that he tried (not enough to eat a whole bowl, mind you, but it’s a start). Evan loves tofu and loves soba noodles, the latter practically drowned in rice vinegar. He looked suspiciously at the sesame seeds on the tofu and needed to scrape them off before trying it (sesame seeds only belong on bagels don’t you know) but admitted it was pretty good. His version of dinner was a bowl of plain soba noodles with tofu on the side, plus a little of our version to try. Love meals like this….we’re all eating the same stuff even if it’s seasoned/sauced a little differently.
Soba Noodles with Tofu and Nut-Free “Peanut” Sauce Adapted from The Family Kitchen
Of course you could probably substitute peanut butter in the same proportion, though I don’t know that for sure, having never eaten peanut butter. But this recipe would work with any peanut sauce you find somewhere on the net. Depending on how sweet you like it and whether you use sweetened soy nut butter or not you may want to adjust the amount of brown sugar. I use the I.M. Healthy brand of soy nut butter and the one I buy is sweetened but they do have an unsweetened one (and also a chocolate soynut butter which is the nut-allergic person’s version of Nutella and its so awesome I won’t buy it anymore because it disappears by the spoonful!)
For the tofu:
1 package firm or extra firm tofu
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp sesame seeds
a splash of soy sauce
1 tbsp canola oil
For the sauce:
2 tbsp soy nut butter (creamy)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce (reduced sodium)
1 ½ tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp brown sugar
1 clove garlic
Hot pepper flakes to taste
1 package soba noodles
2 baby bok choy thinly sliced
2 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow or a mix), thinly sliced
Gently press the whole tofu between sheets of paper towel or dish towel to remove excess water. Then cut into 1” cubes. Toss in a bowl with the sesame oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds. Heat canola oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, add tofu in a single layer and cook until all sides are brown and crispy. About 10 minutes total.
While tofu is browning, grate the ginger. You can use a wood rasp like in the photo (available in most kitchen stores or online here) or a cheese grater on the fine side. Whisk together everything for the sauce but the garlic, then cut the clove in half or thirds and drop it in the sauce and stir. If you really like it garlicky, crush the garlic, but I didn’t want it to be overpowering.
Start the soba noodles when you flip the tofu. Slice the baby bok choy and peppers and dump them in your colander. Drain the cooked noodles over them to blanch the vegetables.
Transfer noodles and vegetables to a large bowl. Add tofu and sauce (remove the chunks of garlic) and toss to coat.
One of these days I’ll figure out how to start a new line without everything ending up double-spaced in the recipe. Bear with me. Thanks for scrolling endlessly. Update 1/21/12: I figured it out!! Yay!