Ok, I know what you’re thinking. TOFU. She’s stooped to tofu. She has finally gone off the vegan deep end and I think I’m saying bye to this blog. I feel you, because those were my exact thoughts as I stopped by my local organic shop and bought this cheese-like block of nothing-normal-feels-like-this. In Mark’s words, “it’s the same texture as polony.”
My few run-ins with tofu to date haven’t resulted in a perfect match. She’s just not that into you; swipe left. But as is often the case these days, my curiosity about outlandish plant-based fodder (kombu, anyone?) overrode my inbred carnivorous disdain and I decided to give it a chance. I figured if I cooked it myself, I’d at least have a shot at making it edible (shout out to the Asian stir-fry joints of the world – you’re doing it wrong).
While pondering my imminent temerity with tofu, I recalled how I’ve been obsessed with the idea of miso, ever since season 9 of Masterchef featured miso in at least 3 dishes per episode. It was the ingredient du jour, the element that made you seem like a creative cook when in fact, all you were doing was adding paste to water for an instant broth – yes, contestants, I have uncovered your wily ways.
Anyway, long story short, the miso noodle bowl with tofu was born. Hardly a ground-breaking dish, but to make the tofu palatable and give both myself and my exceedingly skeptical husband a fighting chance to enjoy it, I marinaded it in a spicy sauce. Because chilli solves everything.
The result was surprising in the extreme – together we made a miso broth that was next level amazing and prepared the tofu in a way that had us both picking at it from the pan while we cooked. If that’s not a sign of a good dish, then I don’t know, George.
Here’s our recipe for a healthy, yummy and definitely repeatable miso noodle bowl with spicy tofu.
Tip: This makes enough for four big servings or two large bowls for two with leftovers for lunch the next day.
- 2 handfuls noodles of choice (I used egg noodles because I prefer their texture in broths, but you can use rice or soba noodles to make this vegan)
- 6 cups water
- 6 tbsp miso paste (I used brown but you can use white)
- 2 tbsp soya sauce
- 1-2 tsp fish sauce (can omit)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1-2 tsp lime juice
- 1-2 chopped fresh chillies
*When adding the flavouring, keep tasting until you get your preferred balance. Miso has a delicate umami flavour which you should enhance with the other ingredients. As we love deep, spicy flavours, we went all out here.
- 1 block firm tofu (approx 400g), chopped into cubes and drained of moisture between paper towels (place a pot or plate on top for 10 mins to force liquid out)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp Sriracha
- 1/4 cup soya sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- Red or white cabbage
- Green beans
*You can use any veggies you have in the fridge, but firmer veg works best. For traditional broths, you add the veggies raw. As we wanted to build in more flavour, we we lightly sauteed the mushrooms, onions and celery separately in a variety of spices including cayenne pepper, paprika and garlic. We left the cabbage and beans uncooked.
- Mix the spicy marinade ingredients together and add chopped, dehydrated tofu. Marinade for at least 15 minutes. Remove cubes from marinade and fry in a pan with a little olive oil until slightly crispy on the outside. Set aside.
- Cook noodles according to package instructions and set aside.
- Sautee veggies as required and set aside.
- While the tofu is cooking, make the broth by first combining miso paste with a little boiling water and whisking until smooth, so it resembles a very thick soup. This prevents it from clumping when it’s added to the pot. Bring 6 cups of water to the boil in a large pot and add miso soup mixture, followed by other broth ingredients to taste. Turn heat down to a simmer.
- Add raw veggies to miso broth and simmer for 2 minutes. Add noodles, remaining veggies and tofu and simmer for additional minute before serving.