Like many good recipes, this one started with my mom. I was over at her house the other day, and she made me these amazing stir-fried mushrooms with shishito peppers. They were so delicious and simple, I had to try making them myself the next day. But of course, I also needed to add noodles to them, because you know, carbs. After successfully adding regular old wheat noodles, I wanted to try adding a bunch of bright veggies, to make the dish extra nutritious. Cue: kale, broccoli, and cabbage–my three favorite vegetables.
Although the recipe was looking insanely yummy and healthy, it didn’t seem entirely balanced as a one pan meal. There was hardly any protein in it. I went searching through my fridge for a box of tofu I could fry up–on the side–when I happened upon a packet of “Tofu Rolls” that I’d picked up the last time I was the Korean grocery store. I’d never used them before, but they looked interesting to me, and I’m always open to trying new tofu products (walk through the tofu section of an Asian grocery store and you will be AMAZED at the variety of textures), ever since I went to Korea and nearly sent back a bowl of noodles because I thought it had chunks of steak in it (it was actually tofu).
Since I was making a noodle dish, I thought it best to cut the tofu rolls into ribbons, so that they would be easy to slurp up with the noodles. I was quite surprised at how sturdy they were–they didn’t rip or tear as I cut into them and pulled them apart. And after unrolling them, I had what looked like a pile of beautiful fresh pasta. In fact, I was so impressed with their texture, I decided to ditch the wheat noodles I’d planned on boiling for the recipe and rely exclusively on my beautiful tofu “fettuccini.”
The sauce for these noodles was very simple–a classic TKV sauce, if you will: soy sauce, mirin, gochugaru, and a little maple syrup for some sweetness. The trick my mom taught me, though, was that you want to cook the mushrooms in the sauce, instead of sauteeing them in the beginning with the onions and garlic. You do have to cook down the sauce quite a bit so that the mushrooms fully absorb the flavors and while not becoming slimy. You’ll know it’s time to add the rest of the ingredients when the mushrooms start to turn dark brown.
So, how do the noodles taste, you ask? Like tofu noodles!! They are chewier and heavier than regular pasta, of course, since they tofu rolls weren’t necessarily designed to be eaten like noodles. But they slurp just like regular noodles do, and like every other kind of tofu you’ve ever eaten, they absorb the flavors around them. Overall, this was a highly nutritious, super healthy “pasta” recipe (that can be made gluten free if you use tamari sauce!) that I would go back to often as a quick and easy post- or pre-workout meal!
Anyhow, here are some things to remember as you make this dish:
- Make sure to sautee the onions and garlic before adding the soy sauce and mirin.
- Keep an eye on the gochugaru–it tends to burn easily, so don’t cook for longer than about 30 seconds. If it turns dark brown, you’ve burned it and the dish will taste bitter. 🙁
- Cook the mushrooms in the soy sauce until they become very dark brown, to ensure they’ve absorbed all the flavors.
Stir Fried Tofu Noodles
- 8 tofu rolls
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red onion, julienned
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp gochugaru use less if too spicy
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 4 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup chopped broccoli
- 1/2 cup julienned carrot
- 1/2 cup julienned cabbage
- 1/2 cup julienned kale
- 5 shishito peppers
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Slice each of the tofu rolls lengthwise into three (3) 1/3-inch rolls. Unroll them so they look like fettuccini.
- Add olive oil to a large pan over medium high heat. Next, add onions and garlic and cook until the onions become translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add gochugaru and stir for about 30 seconds, and then add soy sauce and mirin and cook for an additional 1 minute. Then add mushrooms.
- Cook mushrooms in soy sauce for approximately 3 minutes, until they start to turn brown. Then, add broccoli, carrots, cabbage, kale, and 1/2 cup water. Cook the vegetables in the broth for about 3 minutes, until cabbage and kale become soft.
- Add the tofu "fettuccini" and incorporate the noodles into the vegetables and sauce. Add maple syrup and cook until the sauce reduces down completely, about 4 minutes, mixing the noodles so they are evenly covered in sauce.
- Drizzle sesame oil over the noodles just before serving.