I debated whether to post this recipe at all because it wasn’t a big success. D. and I liked it, though I thought it could have been better; E. hated it, which is a shame because she loves noodles and tofu.
It was a bad night for cooking at all because I had to leave at 7:00 for a meeting, and D. didn’t get home from work until 6:30. I had planned to scramble up some tofu–a quick meal–but when I got to the kitchen I saw that the only tofu we had was this excellent locally-made tofu, dense and firm and perfect for a stir-fry. I didn’t want to “waste” it on a scramble, so I starting cutting veggies to toss together a casual stir-fry.
That would have been fine, only I decided to try a sauce, slightly adapted, from a recipe on my website. I should have done more adapting. I knew that 1/4 cup was too much seasoned rice vinegar, but I put it in anyway. Always trust your gut! Once that rice vinegar was in, there wasn’t much I could do without making the whole thing too watery. Make it a soup? Only by then, it was 6:45 and I had to finish cooking it, eat, and run. And take the photo.
Notice my time-saving techniques, particularly using the same water to blanch the broccoli and cook the noodles.
Hurry-up Hoisin Tofu and Vegetables with Rice Noodles
1 pound tofu
7-8 ounces rice sticks or noodles
1 head broccoli, cut into small flowerets
2 medium zucchini, sliced into finger-sized pieces
1 portabella mushroom, halved and sliced
1 small red bell pepper, chopped coarsely
Sauce (mix all ingredients together):
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar (remember what I said and use less unless you like very vinegary things!)
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
sprinkle red pepper flakes
Put a large pot of water on to boil while you cut your vegetables and make your sauce. Have all ingredients ready to be cooked–this moves quite fast once you start cooking.
Slice the tofu into “slabs” about 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick. Dip each one into a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil (just a few drops), coating both sides. Set aside while you heat an oiled, non-stick skillet or wok until hot. Put the tofu slices into to the hot skillet and cook until browned on both sides. Remove to a cutting board and cut tofu into cubes. Set aside. Keep the skillet hot.
When the water has reached a boil, put your broccoli in to blanch for 2 minutes (no more!) Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon, rinse with cold water, and set aside. Use the same water to start cooking your rice noodles. They should be cooking, until al dente, while you proceed with the rest of the recipe.
To the hot skillet, add the zucchini and stir-fry it for 1-2 minutes, to sear briefly on all sides. Add the mushrooms and red pepper and 1/4 cup of water. Cover and steam for 2 minutes. Remove the cover and add the broccoli, tofu, and sauce, and heat until warm, about 2 minutes.
When the noodles are done, drain them and add them to the tofu and vegetables. Serve hot.
Like I said, D. and I liked it, though the taste did take a little getting used to. With less vinegar, this could be great. Next time, I would use maybe a tablespoon or two of vinegar and replace the rest with water.