People often ask me how I got into cooking. Sure I made a sugar cookie or two growing up, fried an egg every now and then; but even in college when I was finally on my own; I subsisted off of microwave tater tots and Annie’s Mac and Cheese (and I enjoyed every minute of it). It wasn’t until I moved to Korea, that I actually figured out how to properly chop an onion and make a decent meal–and that was pure survival.
I think it was day two in Korea when I inadvertently ate chicken talons at a local restaurant (“This squid is really chewy”) and I realized I had to start making my own meals. With no Annie’s or tater tots in sight, it was time to uncover the mysteries of the Korean grocery store. And, oh what a mystery it was! Thanks in large part to Google and surviving a few epic fails, this mixture of soba, tofu and spicy peanut sauce instantly became my weeknight standby. I still whip this up at least once a month, alternating proteins and veggies with the season and happily reminding myself that it’s way better than those rubbery ol’ chicken feet!
You can use any Asian style noodles for this recipe but these thin strands of buckwheat make the perfect base for the creamy peanut sauce. Plus, soba is incredibly healthy and gluten free (just make sure the package says 100% buckwheat since some brands sneak wheat in them).
Mix grated ginger, minced garlic, soy sauce, creamy peanut butter, vegetable broth (or chicken broth) honey and chile sauce. I recommend Sriracha, but there’s room to play around depending on how much heat you desire. Heat the mixture over the stove, whisking until creamy. Don’t let it boil.
Tofu holds liquid in like a sponge, so to get that nice golden pan sear; you must press out the excess liquid. I put a paper towel over it and push down until it is nice and dry. I cannot explain why my hand is bright red in this picture. Maybe I just cook with intensity.
Saute cubed tofu until golden on all sides.
Soba noodles are very starchy so once they are done cooking, be sure to rinse thoroughly with cool water otherwise they will turn into a sticky and unappetizing clump.
Pour the silky peanut sauce over the noodles and toss in the tofu.
Top with chopped scallions and crushed peanuts. Enjoy!
Soba Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Makes 4 Servings
- 8 oz soba noodles, preferably 100% buckwheat
- 2 cups extra firm tofu, drained of excess water and cubed
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 1 1/2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp Sriracha sauce, or to taste
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add soba noodles. Cook according to package directions, about 5-7 minutes. Drain and thoroughly rinse with cold water.
Heat sesame oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add tofu and saute until all sides are crisp and golden, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Combine vegetable broth, ginger root, soy sauce, peanut butter, honey, Sriracha and garlic in a sauce pan over medium heat. Cook, whisking frequently until peanut butter has blended and the sauce is smooth and creamy.
Pour peanut butter sauce over noodles and add tofu. Toss until combined. Portion noodles into individual serving bowls and top each with scallions and crushed peanuts.
Adapted from Amy Barthelemy at AllRecipes.com