It's day 4 of NaBloPoMo and I'm putting the food back into the food blog. Jui requested quick and simple weeknight dinners and I think our dinner from last night fits the criteria.
Noodles and tofu are on my dinner menu when I'm craving Asian take-out, which is all too often. This dinner comes together very quickly but you do have 3 pots and pans to use: one to boil the noodles, another to fry the tofu and the third to saute the vegetables.
I have certain recipes that unabashedly use short-cuts for an otherwise made-from-scratch meal. This meal uses one such short-cut- Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce (soyaki is a word they made up. You know Trader Joe's and their dorky sense of humor). It is a vegan sauce with an ingredient list that is something like this: soy sauce, sugar, crushed garlic, sesame seeds, soybean oil, ginger puree, white vinegar, soy powder, sesame oil, garlic granules, minced onion, onion powder, ginger powder. Clearly it would be very easy to either make this sauce at home or to add the ingredients to the recipe as I go along. But like I said, I keep a bottle of this stuff handy. It is tasty, I don't have to think and we can have a good meal even when time and patience is in short supply. So feel free to use this or another brand of teriyaki sauce, or make your own (there are dozens of recipes on the internet).
1. Marinate the tofu: A couple of hours ahead of dinner time, drain the water from a package of extra firm tofu. Cut the tofu into bite sized slabs and pat them dry with a clean dish towel. Douse the tofu slabs liberally with the teriyaki sauce (1/4 cup or so). Let them marinate for an hour or two.
2. Boil noodles: About 30 minutes before dinner, put up some water to boil and cook noodles (any kind- Asian or Italian; this time I used whole wheat spaghetti). If you don't want to use noodles, have some cooked rice or quinoa handy.
3. Saute vegetables: In a wok or cast iron saute pan, heat some oil and saute lots of vegetables. Shredded cabbage, sliced peppers, mushrooms, onions, green beans, carrots all work well here. When the vegetables are crisp-tender, add some teriyaki sauce and peanut butter. Stir to make a nice creamy sauce coating the vegetables. Toss in the cooked noodles and a handful of chopped cilantro or green onions.
4. Finally, pan fry the tofu: Dust 2 tbsp. cornstarch into the bowl in which the tofu is marinating. Mix it in gently so the sauce-cornstarch mixture coats the tofu slabs. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large non-stick pan. Add the tofu in a single layer and fry it on both sides until golden brown. The cornstarch will form a wonderful crispy coating on the tofu.
Serve at once. Add some sriracha sauce to taste. Dig in!