To anyone with Asian heritage or a sensitivity to gross cultural appropriation, please accept my apologies.
The stir-fry that I'm about to share is about as Chinese as crab rangoon dipped in duck sauce.
I use Japanese noodles, Trader Joe sun butter, Virginia-made tofu, Thai chili paste, and honey from a squeezable bear of unknown origins.
Analyzing any one of my choices would give me more credence than I deserve, and the dish an air of deliberateness and rationale that just isn't there.
I could fudge something about yin and yang, or heat-inducing and chilling foods.
Really, it's just an incredibly satisfying, slapdash, weeknight-ready, highly mutable meal with all the makings of takeout and none of the trappings.
Which, come to think of it, all sounds very Taoist.
Or more Buddhist?
Tofu, soba, and vegetable stir-fry
- 8 oz. soba (buckwheat) noodles
- drizzle of toasted sesame oil
- 3 Tbsp. nut or seed butter (I usually mix almond and sunflower seed)
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 3 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- squeeze of sriracha, sambal oelek, or another favorite chili paste
- 3 garlic cloves, microplaned
- 1-1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and microplaned
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
- 1 pound organic, extra-firm tofu (like Twin Oaks), drained, patted dry, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1-1/2 pounds broccoli, broken into florets
- 1 pound baby bok choy, leaves separated
- 4 stalks of celery, cut into 1-inch diagonals
Cook the soba noodles according to the package directions, then drain, rinse with cool water, toss with sesame oil, and set aside.
In a food processor or lidded jar, combine the nut/seed butter(s), honey, tamari/soy sauce, vinegar, chili paste, garlic, and ginger. Whiz or shake until uniform, adding a tablespoon or two of water if necessary to achieve a saucy consistency. Sit it near the noodles.
In a large wok or sauté pan set over medium heat, warm the oil until shimmery. Slide the tofu into the pan (be armed with a lid to shield the splatters and pops) and let it sizzle away until golden brown and enticing to even the soy skeptics--about 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a plate and lay it beside the noodles and the sauce.
With the pan (and leftover oil) back on the heat, cook the vegetables beneath a lid, stirring occasionally, until they are bright green and still snappy, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Bring the tofu together with the veggies and pour the sauce over top. Stir to combine, cooking for another minute or two before letting the noodles (and your companions) join in on the fun.