Edo Spiced Sesame Noodles with Golden Tofu
Serves 4 as a side.
Our version of a take-away favorite combines traditional flavors with some extra ‘umph’ from Edo Spice. To make the dish a meal in itself, top it with pan-fried tofu that’s been pre-soaked for a well-seasoned, creamy interior. We garnish the noodles with shiso (an herb in the mint family and used in several Asian cuisines) but basil, a botanical cousin, is a fine substitute.
7–8 ounces dry pasta, linguine or thin spaghetti
1½ cups julienned, crunchy vegetables such as carrot, cucumber, and daikon radish
2 scallions, sliced thinly on the bias, white and green parts; divided
2 tablespoons toasted, un-hulled sesame seeds; divided
For the tofu:
1 block (14 ounces) firm tofu, drained
Neutral-tasting oil, such as avocado or canola, for frying
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil, such as avocado or canola
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar (plain)
2 teaspoons Edo Spice
For the garnish:
Sesame seeds (from above)
Scallions (from above)
1 tablespoon finely shredded shiso or basil, more to taste
Cook the pasta al dente, according to the instructions on the package. Drain but don't rinse the pasta. Set aside.
Pre-soak the tofu Put 3 cups of very hot tap water into a large bowl and stir 2 in tablespoons of salt. Cut the block of tofu into ½-inch thick slabs. Gently drop the tofu slabs into the hot, salty water. Let soak for 20 minutes.
Make the dressing Put the dressing ingredients into a small mixing bowl or jar. Whisk until fully combined and emulsified.
Dress the noodles Transfer the pasta to a large mixing bowl and add about a third of the dressing. Toss to coat the noodles with dressing — tongs are a handy tool for this. Add the julienned vegetables, half the sesame seeds, half the scallions, and another glug of dressing. Toss again to mix the vegetables and pasta evenly. Set aside.
Cube and fry the tofu Set a cooling rack over your sink and spread a clean tea towel over it. Transfer the tofu slabs from the water to the tea towel, lining them up neatly. Fold one edge of the towel over the tofu and press down gently but firmly with your palms to dry the slabs. Cut the tofu slabs into 1/2-inch strips, then into 1/2-inch cubes.
Set a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 teaspoons oil to the pan. When the oil shimmers, add half the tofu cubes to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Flip the cubes over to the opposite side and cook for another 2 minutes. The cubes should be deeply golden and slightly crispy on the cooked sides with warm interiors. Cook the remaining tofu cubes in the same way.
Garnish and serve Transfer the noodles to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the remaining sesame seeds over them and pile the tofu cubes on the top. Finish by sprinkling on the remaining scallions and shredded shiso or basil. Serve the extra dressing and some more Edo Spice, on the side.