Every Saturday evening we are home, my husband and I turn our radio to 89.3 FM KUGS Seattle and enjoy an awesome Asian music show. They play a combination of pop, modern, and fusion music from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, et al. on the show called “Asian Hits.” For a few weekends in a row, we’ve been each trying to work our charms on the variety of Asian inspired food we can produce, using as many local ingredients as possible.
I tossed up some quick Cilantro Sesame Noodles with almost tofu kan and an Edamame Salad with radishes and a soy dressing that he loved! (yes, my husband who “never” likes dressing!)
For Edamame Salad I used:
1 cup fresh edamame, blanched
crunchy romaine lettuce, chopped
some amorosa tomatoes, sliced (one thing I just can’t stop eating out of season)
some french radish, sliced
1/2 fresh lime, juiced
toasted sesame seeds
salt, pepper, & sugar to taste
1. I blanched the edamame to retain the color. They in fact looked greener after than before 🙂
2. I made a soy sauce — lime — olive oil emulsion, using about a tbsn of soy sauce, salt, pepper, and sugar to taste, oilve oil, and a squeeze of lime. I don’t have exact measurements, but the best way to know is keep tasting it till you get a balance of flavor your tongue likes.
3. When ready to eat: plate the lettuce, edamame, radish, and tomatoes, pour your well-mixed dressing over top, and sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds!
Speaking of fusion, this salad somehow tasted amazingly delicious with a glass of Australian Shiraz.
On to the almost tofu kan, Cilantro Sesame Noodles. Tofu kan is a type of spiced tofu invented and made popular by Ithaca Soy in upstate New York, where I lived for a while. I will some day publish its original recipe, created by a former colleague with her permission. For now, you get to taste my quick and custom version. I wanted to prove that this baked, spicy tofu can take a noodle dish to the next level, even if it’s plain old fetuccini 😉
For Cilantro Sesame Noodles I used:
7 oz. firm tofu, cubed
1 tbspn soy sauce
1.5 tspn brown sugar
a squirt of sriracha hot sauce
2 cloves of garlic, finely grated
1/2″ piece of ginger, finely grated
1/2 fresh lime, juiced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 pinch Chinese five spice powder
2 pinches cumin powder
2 pinches salt
2-3 sliced spring onions
toasted sesame seeds
1/2 lb. boiled fettucini noodles (yes! I make do with whatever I have, especially in winter)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C).
2. Make the tofu marinade by combining the first half of the ingredients in a big bowl.
3. Toss the cubes of tofu in this marinade, and let it absorb for 15-20 minutes. I toss it a few times in between.
4. Carefully remove the tofu and spread it out on a baking sheet. Make sure there isn’t a lot of liquid on the sheet, else it will burn — I’ve done that before 😉 Bake for about 20 minutes or until the outside starts to brown and crisp up. You will smell it when it’s done!
5. Over medium heat in about 1 tbspn vegetable oil, add some red pepper flakes and let them flavor the oil for a couple minutes.
6. Add the noodles, Chinese 5 spice, cumin powder, salt, a squeeze of lime juice, and toss.
7. Add spring onions, sesame seeds, cilantro, and the freshly baked almost tofu kan and serve right away. As redundant as they might look, the freshly toasted sesame seeds did pull the whole meal together.
Crank up your favorite Asian music, experiment, and enjoy 🙂
Above is one of our earlier Asian-inspired Saturday dinners, Brian did the cooking and lovely plating! It was a lot of fun because my husband can really move a wok around & balance flavors well in a sauce. His menu included grilled Smoked Garlic Teriyaki Tofu, Baby Bok Choy, and Daicon. The ingredient that drove the meal was bok choy, which I used to never touch until I tasted what he made. When I cook, Brian often pairs it with a wine or beverage. This time, I contributed a fizzy tropical beverage, topped with a scoop of a mango sorbet, to go with the theme.
Finally, I want to wish all my Asian buddies, who are celebrating the new year around now — a very Happy New Year! This isn’t an entirely traditional tribute, but the fusion spanned Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and more. Vegetarian Asian food is something I really do aspire to cook well. For now, flavorful fusion dishes are the way I like to make my everyday meals more interesting and healthier!