If you are broke, if you are vegan, if you need more green in your life in less than 10 minutes, or if you are a mother whose child refuses to eat anything with four legs, noodles with tofu has your name on it.
Can I just say something though, because I have issues about this–the rules of cooking don’t change just because the ingredients look healthy. We passed through way too many years in this country throwing out our decent cooking skills with the bras and the meat. Tofu will only be an enemy if your technique is to take it out of a package, slap it on a plate, gussy it up with a few raw carrots and a pile of rice and call it dinner. Greens, if you give them no dressing, seasoning or hope–I don’t care if they are boiled, steamed, or raw, served on a silver platter or in tupperware–are hard to look forward to, and are more likely to die a slow death, week after week in the bottom drawer of your refrigerator.
Buy the best buckwheat noodles you can find. Or any kind of high quality asian noodle. Start with 9 ounces in boiling, lightly salted water. Pick up a pack of firm or extra firm tofu and drain well. Set the tofu on paper towel to absorb the excess liquid. Get out a heavy duty frying pan and give a serious drizzle of a beautiful oil–I use olive oil, but you can use any cold-pressed vegetable oil. While you wait for it to get hot, add a few slivers of fresh ginger, and about 4 whole cloves of garlic, cut in half. When they have a little color, remove. Cut tofu into planks or small cubes (I use half the pack), and add to the pan. Season with salt. Let it sear without disturbing, until it has lovely color on one side. Remove from pan. Give another drizzle of oil. Add some chopped up green onion, about 4 or 5 of them, a tablespoon of finely chopped ginger, and a finely chopped clove of garlic. If you feel like it, add a little parsley. Turn off the heat, and pour this over the tofu. Add water to the pan and bring to a boil. Add a little salt. Cut the top bits from a head of broccoli and simmer until still green and with a bit of bite, maybe 4 minutes. Lift from the water, without throwing away the water. Dress broccoli with a little olive oil or sesame oil and a bit of salt. Drain noodles as soon as they are al dente. Add to a bowl. Toss with tofu mixture and broccoli. If you want a little spice, take a few spoonfuls of the broccoli cooking water and stir in a bit of chili garlic sauce. Add to noodles. Otherwise, just add enough of the cooking water to moisten the noodles. (if you have homemade stock, you could use that as well–be sure it is hot first).
Toss in some arugula or watercress. Taste for a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, salt and maybe even another drizzle of oil or a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.
For the record I haven’t given up on bras or meat–not completely anyways.