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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tofu Broccolini Salad with Udon Noodles

Another try-out from Cooking Light May '11.  The picture is so mouth-watering, I immediately picked up ingredients for the recipe before really reading through the steps.  Oops.  Incredibly step-heavy.  A lot of last-minute cooking.  So not how I roll.

The majority of my changes to this recipe are in preparation timeline and combining separate steps to produce a more streamlined, make-ahead friendly dish.  The one major ingredient change I made is to use WAAAAYYYYYY less sriracha than the recipe calls for. Ginger brings its own heat, radishes typically have some zing and you just don't need to blow the roof of your mouth off with an additional half tablespoon of liquid fire, thankyouverymuch.

There are 4 main components to this dish, and almost all of them can be done up to a day ahead.  Store each element of the salad separately, boil the noodles (and broccolini, if desired) last minute and toss everything together. 

Tofu under a paver
You need to press the tofu as it's full of water which will prevent the tofu taking in the marinade.  You can wrap it in paper towels and press it under a weight (I use a fluorescent yellow paving stone) overnight, all day long or for as little as 30 minutes, though the less water you press out of it, the less marinade it will take on later. 

Tofu Broccolini Salad with Udon Noodles
Serves 4

For dressing/marinade:
6 tbsp peanut or canola oil
1/4 cup tamari or dark soy sauce
1/4 tsp sriracha or hot sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 tsp dark sesame oil
For tofu:
1/4 cup dressing/marinade (above)
1 14-oz. package extra-firm tofu (water-pack), pressed and cut into 3/4" cubes

For raw veg:
1/2 cup radishes, sliced

For cooked veg/noodles:
1 bunch broccolini, sliced into 2" lengths
6 oz. Japanese udon (wheat) noodles
2 quarts water

To serve:
2 tbsp unsalted peanuts or cashews

To prep ahead, whisk together marinade/dressing ingredients.  Combine tofu with 1/4 cup marinade and let sit while oven preheats to 350F.  Drain tofu, then bake in a single layer for 20 minutes, until lightly browned.  Put remaining dressing and cooled tofu into separate containers to fridge.  Slice radishes and put in a container to fridge. 

To assemble, bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a large pot.  Cook udon per package instructions.  Add broccolini to the pot 3 minutes before end of recommended time for noodles (or boil them separately--broccolini for 3 minutes, udon for whatever the package says--but why waste the water and wash another pot?).  Drain and rinse with cool water.  Drain again very well.

Combine noodles, broccolini, radishes, tofu in a large bowl.  Toss with dressing.  Sprinkle with nuts to serve.

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