Sesame Noodle Salad with Tofu Recipe
This recipe from our Cubicle Cuisine feature makes two to four servings, so you’ve got enough to share with your cubemate or some extra for a late-night snack.
What to buy: Udon noodles are Japanese wheat noodles, and soba noodles are Japanese buckwheat noodles. They can be found in gourmet grocery stores or in Asian markets. If you’re having a hard time finding them, you can substitute whole-wheat linguine or spaghetti.
- 8 ounces dried soba or udon noodles
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
- 2 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, plus more as needed
- 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 medium scallions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 medium lemon)
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
- 1/2 medium English cucumber, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles, stir to combine, and cook according to the package directions. Drain, rinse under cold water until the noodles are cool, and drain again; set aside.
- Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the tofu and sear without moving until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip the tofu cubes and sear until the other side is golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tofu to a large paper-towel-lined plate and season with salt and pepper.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the ginger, measured sesame oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, add the soy sauce and sugar, and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
- Scrape the ginger mixture into a large heatproof bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the scallions and lemon juice and stir to combine. Add the reserved noodles, reserved tofu, bell pepper, and cucumber and toss to combine. Taste and season with more sesame oil as needed.
Beverage pairing: Clean Slate Riesling, Germany. This wine results from a partnership between German and American interests, hence the comprehensible, non-Teutonic name. But it’s simple: Pure citrus, ginger, and mineral notes make it a perfect match for the noodle salad, and its hint of sweetness means that you can ramp up the chile as much as you want.