Soba with sweet chili sesame tofu and quick pickled veg
By Mary Berg
225 grams soba noodles
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons honey
1–2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2–3 teaspoons soy sauce
1 brick extra firm tofu
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, white, black, or a combination
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2–3 tablespoons sriracha
1 tablespoon honey
Cilantro and/or thai basil, optional
Chopped roasted peanuts, optional
Toasted sesame seeds, optional
For the noodles, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and cook the soba noodles according to the package directions or until al dente. While the noodles are cooking, add the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, honey, grated ginger according to taste, and the green onion to a large bowl and whisk to combine. When the noodles are done cooking, drain them, rinse under cold water, and add to the sesame soy mixture. Toss well to combine and set aside.
For the pickles, use a vegetable peeler to slice the cucumber and carrot into long ribbons, discarding the seedy centre of the cucumber. Add the veg to a bowl and thinly slice or quarter the radishes. Add the radishes in and pour on the seasoned rice vinegar and soy sauce. Squeeze on the juice of half a lime and season with a little pinch of kosher salt then mix the pickles with you hands, gently squeezing the vegetable in your fists as you mix in order to speed up the pickling process. Set aside.
For the tofu, place a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat and cut the tofu into two centimeter cubes. When the pan is hot, add in the vegetable oil and tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, until hot and turning golden around the edges, about five minutes, adding the sesame seeds about halfway through cooking. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, sriracha according to taste, and honey. When the tofu is golden, add it to the sweet chili sauce and stir to combine.
To serve, drain the pickles, add to the soba noodles, and toss to combine. Divide among your serving plates and top each with the sweet chili tofu. Scatter with cilantro and/or thai basil, some chopped peanuts, and maybe a scattering of toasted sesame seeds.
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