I don't like tofu. Well, let me amend that...I didn't like tofu before this recipe. I thought that the flavor and texture were--in a word--yucky. (I know, I know...not very mature.) On a whim, I decided to give tofu one more shot before chalking it off forever. Aggie from Aggie's Kitchen admitted her own aversion to tofu that sounded similar to mine. Then, she recommended this dish. Since Aggie is a trusted recipe source, I went for it. Oh man, I'm glad I did. This was really, really good. I LIKED the tofu in this recipe. I'm talkin' LIKE liked. Yeah, crazy right???? This may be the start of a beautiful friendship between tofu and me. Only time will tell...
Sesame Tofu Noodle Bowl with Peanut Sauce
From: Family Kitchen on babble.com By:Aggie's Kitchen (via Eat, Live, Run)
1 package of extra firm tofu (see below for instructions on how to drain properly)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
a couple splashes soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons honey or agave
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 package soba noodles
2 large red bell peppers, sliced thin
1 large bok choy, sliced thin (I used 3 baby bok choy)
handful of chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
TO PROPERLY DRAIN TOFU:
Take tofu out of package and place on a plate lined with paper towel. Place additional paper towels on top of the tofu. Add another plate to sandwich the tofu. Place a heavy weight (like a heavy skillet, heavy can, etc.; I used the top of my cast iron panini press) on the top plate to press the tofu. Let the tofu drain for 1/2 hour, then change the paper towels, flip the tofu over, and let it drain for an additional half hour (1 hour of total draining time).
Once draining process is complete, pat tofu to dry well. Slice longways into rectangles, about 1/2 inch thick, then smaller into cubes. Place in a bowl and gently toss with sesame oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds.
Heat canola oil up a large non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu to pan and cook until bottom sides are browned. Flip over and continue to cook till all sides are browned and crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
While tofu is cooking, make peanut sauce by adding all the ingredients to a blender and combining until smooth, about 30 seconds.
In the meantime, bring pot of salted water to a boil and add soba noodles. Cook according to instructions.
Place red pepper strips and bok choy in a colander. When noodles are ready, pour over vegetables in colander and drain water, while rinsing with cold water at the same time. Doing this blanches the veggies quickly and easily. Transfer noodles and veggies to a large bowl and add peanut sauce. Gently toss and combine together. Add tofu and cilantro and serve into bowls.
Dealing with the tofu was a bit of a pain. However, I must say, it was worth it. I really enjoyed this recipe...AND the tofu was pretty darn yummy. (I honestly thought that I would never say that about tofu.) I think the more I prepare tofu, the easier it will get (i.e. I will become more efficient at dealing with it). The key is to properly drain the tofu. Eureka!!!! What a revelation!!! Tofu can actually be delicious!
All in all, this is a great one to try if you are apprehensive about tofu. I think this recipe can be served as a gateway tofu dish...good for those of us who think that they are tofu-adverse. (A tofu ambassador, if you please.) The texture and flavor of all the components worked really well together. My kids even ate it without complaint. Hooray! I now have a "go-to" tofu recipe.