THIS. This is so so good. I mean, it’s like a fine dining experience, but you can wear pajamas while you eat it.
Check back on my protein post about tofu so you can decide which kind you’re looking for when you’re scoping out the goods at the store. My fave is extra firm organic sprouted. I pick the sprouted kind because it’s just a little more protein, but that’s all preference. What you need to make sure you buy though, is the extra firm. Some stores even have super firm, which has a really sturdy texture to it, almost akin to chicken if you can even remember back that far. This is step one in avoiding that notorious tofu sog. No matter what kind of tofu you get though, it’s packed in liquid, and you must must must squeeze that extra juice out. I stick mine between two plates and press down over the sink so the excess liquid can run off. A lot of people use paper towels, but we’re all about sustainability here, right guys?
Once your tofu is drained, dice up somewhere between 4 and 400 garlic cloves (I used 7 cloves for 2 people). Place your tofu slices, chopped garlic, and 1 tablespoon of miso in a deep pot with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Miso is a fermented soybean or rice paste that’s used a lot in Japanese cooking. I’m sure you’re familiar with miso soup from just about any sushi place. My little one sentence blurb does miso no justice, though. Watch Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat on Netflix if you haven’t already. The host, Samin Nosrat is the cutest little thing. She’s a chef and writer, and takes viewers on a journey discovering some of the most crucial elements of cooking in their purest and most authentic forms. In the Salt episode, she travels Japan and they participate in the making of this beautiful, rich, miso that inspired me to go out and buy some. I’m sure my miso in a plastic tub from Whole Foods was also made with tender love and care just the way Samin’s was. There are a few different colors of miso to choose from, and I wound up picking yellow. It’s so delicious because it imparts a funky nuttiness into anything you make. I’ve become a little obsessed.
So let this all sit in the pan while your garlic browns. Try not to flip your tofu often, this way one side gets a really gorgeous crisp to it. Keep mixing that miso in with the olive oil so it spreads out a little more. When you flip the tofu, make sure the heat is on high, and then set it right smack dab into the miso mixture so that can absorb into your protein and create a golden funky nutty crust. Depending on your stove top and pan, you’ll probably want to flip the tofu so each side can get about 5-8 minutes face down workin on that crisp.
I made super thin slices of about a half cup of baby portobello mushrooms, half cup of red bell peppers, and 2-3 scallions. I stirred in the bottom white part of the scallions and even some of the green parts diced about halfway up until the stem starts getting hollow. Save those extra greens for later – they’re such a cute and flavorful garnish when you need a pop of color. I added in chopped purple cabbage because it’s so gorgeous, and julienned carrot – if you don’t have a julienne peeler, they’re also amazing for making veggie noodles out of winter squash, carrots, or zucchini, so go snag your yourself one hunty! (Sorry, I’ve been watching a LOT of the newest season of Queer Eye. Ugh, swoon. ) I also added in frozen peas in the last few minutes for a pop of sweetness.
Okay, now it’s spice time. I can never get enough garlic powder, so I added in a teaspoon of that, 12 tsp ginger (or a 1” hunk of fresh ginger you can toss in, stir around, and then remove later before you eat) and salt and pepper to taste. Stir all of the colorful beauty right around and then plate it. I keep my plates on or very near the stove so my meals stay warm if I’m working on a one pot wonder. In the same pan with the left over olive oil and miso remnants, add 1 tsp sesame oil (I use toasted sesame oil from Trader Joe’s), 1 tsp chili powder, onion powder, 1/4 tsp umami powder (again, from Trader Joe’s – it’s a mix of various types of mushrooms ground up into a fabulous umami dust that’s literally good on everything), and more salt and pepper to taste. I drain and then dump in my shiritaki yakisoba noodles. They take only about five minutes to brown and absorb the flavor in your pan.
Um, can we talk about shiritaki noodles for a minute though? They are made of yam flour, so we’re talking gluten free, no grains, no carbs, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium, and no sugars. I mean, come on, we can have our pasta and eat it too? After that, when your noodles are good to go, plate everything, and add a few sprinkles of black sesame seeds on top of your noodles. At this point, I tossed in some broccoli florets with 1/4 cup of water just to get a good steam going. I plated them, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and a little onion flake.