Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A perfect marriage.

Not talking about mine, (although my marriage is quite lovely, thank you).  I'm talking about a perfect marriage.  The marriage of "noodle" and "cake," where the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts.  Crispy on the outside, pleasantly squishy on the inside, tasty throughout.  We were all generally in agreement on this point.

I served this with extra tofu, but it would have been better with a vegetable stir fry.  Next time.

Chinese Noodlecake with Tofu
2 packages of fresh Chinese noodles (wheat, not rice)
about 6 oz shredded carrots
1 small onion, finely diced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger (or that jarred stuff that's amazing)
1 package smoked tofu, finely diced
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch
vegetable oil

In a large (12-14 inch) nonstick pan on medium heat, sauté the carrots and onions with the ginger until they are soft, but not mushy.  Set aside.

Ignore the fact that this is a regular pan.  I was trying to multitask.

Turn up the heat to medium-high, put about 1 tbsp oil in the pan, and cook the tofu, turning infrequently, until it is browned and slightly crisped.  

You have to cut it up really small, or it won't mix with the noodles.

As it is cooking, mix the soy and hoisin sauces together.

Mix the vegetables back in with the tofu, and top with the hoisin-soy mix.  Coat well, and remove from heat.

Mix the cornstarch with about a tablespoon of water, and stir well, making sure there are no clumps.  Add more water, a few drops at a time, until you have a mixture that is slightly thinner than maple syrup.

Cook the noodles according to the package directions, making sure not to overcook, and drain well.

In a large bowl, toss the noodles with the tofu-vegetable mixture, and quickly toss to coat with the cornstarch (I used two forks to do this).

Heat the nonstick skillet over medium-high heat again, and coat with a generous tablespoon of vegetable oil.  Place the noodle mixture into the pan and gently press down to make the noodlecake even.

Cook on medium-high heat for about 7 minutes, or until you can easily slide a spatula under the noodlecake and lift it up gently.  

The trick is in flipping the cake over - place a regular dinner plate on top of the pan and flip.  It should be inverted onto the plate.  Put another tablespoon of oil in the pan, swirl around, and then gently slide the noodlecake back into the pan, uncooked side down.  Cook for about 7 minutes.

In an ideal world, one in which I have a gas stove, this wouldn't be so unevenly browned.  Alas, electric it is.

Invert back onto the plate, cut into wedges, and serve.  

Here we are, with extra tofu and more cucumbers for color.  Strongly recommend a quick veggie stir fry instead.  

In case you were wondering, which you probably weren't, which is cool I guess, if we're going to roll that way, the Ecotarium was awesome.  Tomorrow I'll share with you the fantastic not-raw-egg take on pasta carbonara that we had for dinner afterwards.  Bacon and carbs, what could be better?

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