Udon with tofu, bok choy, tomato and more…

Udon with bok choy, tomato, tofu, etc.

It’s been a while — far too long, really! — since I put up something I’ve cooked, and tonight was time to rectify that. Having picked up my latest basket and seen some baby bok choy, I wanted to do something with that, and a scrounge online turned up this really fantastic recipe — seriously, check it all out, lots of photos, plenty of detail, the works.

My big change here was to use udon rather than the thick rice noodle indicated, in that no such noodle as described was available in my local Japanese market (I could have easily have missed it). Other than that I went at it, adjusting portion sizes down for a single-person dish. (I used some minced ginger I had to hand as well rather than julienning, FWIW.)

Quite delicious, very filling — give it a whirl!

Another cucumber salad plus a little more

Salad, noodles and more

So following on from my post of the other day, my friend Anji Bee noted over on Facebook that she’d done a Japanese variant on a cucumber salad, involving rice vinegar, soy sauce and seaweed. She mentioned aji nori furikake whereas I only had kizami nori around but as I did have that plus the other ingredients, I felt I should give it a whirl.

But this was also a classic case of wanting to clear out a couple of things before my next basket tomorrow. I had no tomatoes left but I did have a bit of tofu I wanted to finish up, already baked and marinated. So I chopped up some to mix with the salad as it stood, while the rest I mixed with some buckwheat noodles I had left that had been cooked then chilled, topped with some soba sauce and a sprinkling of ichimi togarashi for bite. The result — perfectly filling while not being too heavy. And again, in warm weather, a cool meal is the way to go!

Thai rice noodles with tatsoi

Another dish suggested by the latest basket, thanks to a provided recipe from the newsletter reproduced below. Said recipe called for chicken but I substituted sliced baked tofu without a worry — that said, this is not a vegetarian dish due to the use of oyster and fish sauce. Variants can be suggested I’m sure!

1 pound noodles rice noodles
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon arrowroot
1 cup stock
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic finely minced
1 block baked tofu, thinly sliced
1 small bunch of tatsoi, chopped
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

Soak the rice noodles, or prepare according to package directions.

In a small bowl, mix together the oyster sauce, fish sauce, arrowroot
& chicken stock.

In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. When the oil
begins to smoke, add the garlic & tofu. Stir-fry until the tofu
is just cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.

Add the noodles & the tamari. Toss to mix. The noodles should become a little golden & crisp on the edges.

Add the tatsoi. Stir fry rapidly for a few minutes, then add the sauce; cover & cook for a few minutes to allow the greens to cook down.

Toss to mix. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens or another 1-2 minutes.

Cold somen noodles done a little more properly

As a recent take on this was a little more free. Regardless, said noodles along with various other toppings and a dipping sauce, along with a good sake. Nice combination!

There are any number of cold somen noodle recipes online — a fun I came across, which links to a recent LA Times story as well, is courtesy of the Food Librarian. Needless to say any library employee in the LA area who is a cooking fiend is all right by me, so I salute you!

Somen noodles are easily cooked, rinsed and chilled, and so long as you have the basic dipping sauce around — somen tsuyu is how it’s labeled if you go the storebought route — the sky’s the limit in terms of what you want to include or try.

Stir-fried wheat noodles with kohlrabi and basil

Another example of random inspiration — I wondered idly last night what a search on kohlrabi and noodles would do in Google and found this recipe via Food and Wine.

It’s important to note that as ever I made some necessary on the fly changes — I had no rice noodles so made do with wheat, while the kohlrabi didn’t end up browning much and I substituted tofu in place of the red pepper (and, implicitly, the mung bean sprouts) in order to ensure some protein was included. Point being, though, this worked very well!

“Hiyashi chuuka: Japanese Chinese-style cold noodles”

So went the description from the webpage I took the basic recipe from, the extremely wonderful justhungry.com, which I’ve used before for various Japanese-inspired dishes in particular.

It was a VERY hot and wonderful day down here — spring has sprung! — and I wanted to have a cooler dish for dinner after some spring cleaning. Being near Mitsuwa, as always, helped, so besides the main entree itself and the accompanying mustard, I snagged a bean cake and some good sake because, hey, why not? Made for a lovely meal, in fact the first this year on the balcony table.

The idea of the dish is that noodles have to be prepared in the proper fashion — again, refer to the excellent page I’ve linked for details — but that anything can top it so long as it’s good cold. This is not as colorful as it could have been — should have snagged some ginger — but the combination of baked tofu, kohlrabi and cabbage still worked very well. Highly recommended if you want to give it a try.