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Hot and Cold Soba Noodle Salad

January 26, 2011

Luckily for me both my husband and I enjoy tofu. Tofu is a great way to incorporate protein into a vegetarian diet. It’s low in both fat and sodium, and high in minerals. As it has little of its own flavor, it goes well with many types of dishes and lends itself to many cooking methods as well, whether it’s baking, grilling or frying.

Here is a recipe from House and Home’s January 2011 issue for a crunchy soba noodle salad. The crunch comes from both the fresh vegetables and crispy tofu. Really fresh and yummy, this makes a great light dinner or lunch.

Soba Salad

300 g package buckwheat soba noodles
2 cups colourful Julienne vegetables including carrots, snow peas, red pepper and cabbage.
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin (sweet cooking wine)
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Crispy Tofu

1 16 oz pkg firm tofu
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3-4 tbsp cornstarch or rice flour
1/3 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp soy sauce

1. In a medium pot of salted boiling water, cook the noodles following the directions on the package, approx 5-6 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water to prevent sticking. Drain again and let cool.

2. Whisk together last 5 ingredients . Toss noodles with vegetables and dressing, set aside.

3. Remove tofu from package, cut into 8 even chunks but don’t separate, and drain on tea towel for half an hour.

4. Heat vegetable oil on medium high in a wok or large frying pan. While the oil is heating up, dip each piece of tofu in cornstarch, making sure all sides are coated. Pat off excess starch, the roll tofu in panko*. Cook in oil until tofu is lightly browned. Drain on paper towel.

6. Put soba noodle salad on a serving dish and top with hot tofu, green onion, sesame seeds and soy sauce. Serve immediately.

* the second time I made this I found it really tough to get the panko crumbs to stick to the tofu. I did not encounter this the first time I made this recipe though I followed all the same steps. I plan on making this again soon so I’ll update this post if I find a better way to get the panko to stick.

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