Dear Spicebox Travels readers, it has been too long since my last post! I wanted to make sure to share a recipe to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and I think this recipe, which I taught this month in Thrive Kitchen at Home, would be a good representative, as it is neither traditionally Asian nor American, but something which is pretty representative of how I like to eat and cook. In this satisfying yet light noodle dish, pan-fried tofu and edamame and welcome spring with the fresh flavors of baby spinach and thinly sliced fennel. Hope you enjoy this, and if you’re interested in cooking along with me, consider taking the next Thrive Kitchen at Home (virtual) class, on June 14: Mediterranean Picnic. Or flip open to a random page in Spicebox Kitchen, and see where it takes you! To your health!
For the noodles:
1 lb Chinese dried wheat noodles (medium width) imported from Taiwan– if unavailable, may substitute fresh Chinese egg noodles or linguine
2 T toasted sesame oil
2 T oyster or vegetarian stir-fry sauce
2 T ginger, peeled and sliced into thin julienne
4 scallions, greens only, sliced into thin diagonal strips, about 1-2 inches long each
For the tofu:
1 block firm tofu, drained
1 T canola oil
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, defrosted
2 cups baby spinach
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
For the sauce:
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 T gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder) or crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
- Prepare the tofu: Drain tofu and wrap in 2 layers of paper towel. Sandwich between two cutting boards and place a heavy pot on top, and press for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, dry off the surface of the tofu, then slice into bite size pieces (1/2 inch-thick rectangles). Heat a large sauté pan with one tablespoon each of vegetable oil and sesame oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, fry the tofu slices until each side is browned and crisp. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Do not salt the water, as the Taiwanese noodles are salted. Most importantly, do not break the dried noodles! Cook, uncovered, for 5 to 8 minutes until al dente. Drain immediately and rinse in cold water, then drain completely. Return to the pot and toss with sesame oil, oyster sauce, ginger and scallions.
- Prepare the sauce by stirring together all ingredients in a small bowl.
- Warm another tablespoon of oil in the sauté pan over high heat, then add the edamame and baby spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted.
- Stir in the noodles, using chopsticks or tongs to evenly distribute, then add the pan-fried tofu and fennel slices.
- Transfer to a serving platter, and drizzle on the sauce.