Okay, I have a secret. For quite a few years now, I have harbored a secret love for tofu. I love crispy fried tofu and stir-fried veggies and always choose this on the rare occasion that I get take-away. My main problem with embracing this tasty fermented product at home is that the family have not exactly been enthusiastic about the object of my affections.
I began about ten years ago by hiding tofu in our soup. Silken tofu makes an excellent cream base when you can't eat cream or dairy products so I began blending it up for my soup base with minimal suspicion. No, there was no absolute revolt when I was discovered but the tofu soup revelation didn't exactly get a clap of hands...more like a stoic tolerance.
I've taken a shot or two at stir-fries with tofu instead of meat and filled a gyoza or two with tofu instead of pork but no-one was as excited as I was about my genius experiments. Just over a year ago, I decided to change my tactics to convince the family that tofu was a friend. Tofu pudding pots were my salvation after re-jigging a recipe that I found in my Blender Girl cookbook. The trick is to not tell your family that they are eating tofu until after they have licked their pudding bowl ~ only then should you tell them that the dessert they just scarfed down is tofu.
Anyway, fast forward to present day and chocolate pudding pots are a regular item for everyone's lunch boxes and now I am ready to take on tofu as a main dish meat alternative. The husband and kids already love my teriyaki soba noodles tossed with blanched veggies and now I am adding tofu to shake things up a bit. Don't be afraid...it is really tasty.
For the teriyaki sauce:
Begin by opening and draining the tofu. Place tofu on a plate with paper towel on both top and bottom; position a heavy object on it and set aside. This will get rid of some of the excess liquid in the tofu.
Next in a small frying pan or pot, mix the soy sauce, water, cornstarch, mirin, maple syrup and sesame oil. Heat on low until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and add the grated ginger to the mixture and stir to combine. Set this aside and move on to prepping veggies to blanch and then cook the soba noodles according to the package.
Now, remove the paper towel and heavy weight from the drained tofu. Slice the tofu block into pieces or bite-sized chunks and toss in the 3 Tablespoons of cornstarch. Heat a small frying pan with oil; I like refined coconut oil. When the oil is hot, fry tofu on each side making sure it is lightly brown and crispy. Next add one-quarter of the teriyaki sauce and cook the tofu for about 30 seconds until the sauce has thickened then remove from heat.
Lastly, toss the cooled veggies, soba noodles, green onions, and sesame seeds with the remaining sauce and top with the crispy tofu. Serves 4.