A couple years ago, I came across this recipe from the lovely Pip @ Meet Me at Mike's. The first time I made it, it was love. It's still in regular rotation on the menu planner, but has gone through so many incarnations.
This is our latest version! With crispy tofu and udon noodles! Super yummy! As per usual, making a stir fry in our house means whatever veggies are in the fridge and garden are fair game! And of course, a lot of the recipe can be done when the kiddos are napping. Chop the veggies, cook the tofu, whisk up the sauce.. This makes actually cooking dinner with two little men under your feet quite a bit easier.
First things first. Crispy tofu. I've been trying to get this right for years! When I was vegan, back in my early 20's, my best friend and I would have this amazing crispy tofu and broccoli take away from our favourite Chinese restaurant at least once a week. The tofu was the perfect amount of crispy and still soft in the middle... *droooool* anyway! this is the closest I've got to that! and it's only taken 15 years!
So anyway... To make this lovely (boy-loved) dish...
350 g firm tofu
2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1/3 cup plain flour
Grapeseed oil, enough to fill a small fry pan by 5mm
Heaps of veggies! We used :
- red capsicum, cut into thin strips
- 2 yellow zucchini, sliced
- red cabbage, cut into good even chunks
- a handful of small broccoli florets
- silverbeet, roughly chopped
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sake (or a good rice wine vinegar)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup raw sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
400 g udon noodles (the ready for stir fry and soup type)
toasted sesames seeds
Start with the tofu.
Take it out of the package and give it a nice rinse. Then press it between a couple of sheets of paper towel and put a heavy plate on top of the brick of curd. Let the weight sit on it for a good 10 minutes. This will squeeze any extra moisture out of the tofu.
Next, slice it up into strips or shapes that are manageable for little fingers. Then coat all sides of the tofu in the flour and cornflour mixture.
Heat about 5mm of oil in a shallow frying pan and place the sliced tofu in the oil. When I'm doing pieces like this, I think of the pan as a clock and start at 12 o'clock and around you go. It makes it a little easier to keep track of what went in when. Flip them over as they brown slightly, a few minutes each side. Then place on a towel to drain.
Next, chop chop chop those veggies! Remember to think about which veggies will cook quickly, which will cook slowly and which may only need a moment to wilt. The size of your pieces of veggies are very important here, I try to make them as uniform as I can. Put all of that aside, or pop them all into containers and in the fridge until later.
The sauce, super easy. Mix together the mirin, sake, soy, water, sugar sesame oil and whisk until the sugar dissolves.
Now, start cooking those veggies! The easiest way is to steam them separately and add them to the wok later. Meanwhile, chuck the tofu and the sauce into the wok and let it warm through. After a while, the sauce will turn into a sticky yummy syrup, once this happens, add in the steamed veggies and udon noodles and let the noodles heat through and soak up some of that gooey sauce.
Plate up and top with some toasted sesame seeds and ta-da!
For having a few carnivore boys in the house, this goes down quite well! Hendrik especially loves the tofu, which makes me a happy hippy mum!