Tag Archive for 'stir-fry'

Sesame Crusted Tofu with Soba Noodle Stir Fry


To my incredible surprise, the number of compliments I received for this sesame crusted tofu equalled all compliments I have ever gotten for making roast chicken or lamb. My family went completely gaga over it. They have always liked tofu, but never gushed over it like they did on Monday night. I have to admit, it really was very tasty, with a good crunch and great flavor. I first pressed the tofu to get rid of any excess liquid, marinaded it in a variety of things (see below) and then coated it in a simple mixture of black and white sesame seeds, cornstarch and a pinch of salt. Fried it in sesame oil and tadah!

As to the soba noodles, they are a staple in my kitchen and I use them for salads, soups and stir-fries all the time. I fry up a some ginger, a few cloves of garlic and a hot chili pepper, add vegetables and mushrooms of any kind, finish up with a seasoning of soy sauce, mirin and lime juice, add the noodles and just before serving,  sprinkle a handful of coriander, spring onions and black sesame seeds over it all. Done. The preparation is the main part, cooking takes no more than 10 minutes. Cook your soba noodles before you start on your stir-fry, taking care not to over-cook them and rinse them under cold water right after they’re done. They can sit in the colander until you are finished stir-frying the vegetables.

I fried up the tofu first and let it sit on the counter until the rest of the meal was ready. It kept its crunchiness and nobody cared that it wasn’t hot. You could however place the cooked tofu strips on a lined baking tray in a single layer and quickly reheat them in a hot oven before serving.

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‘Spring Cleaning’ Recipes

Now that you know all about my recent detox adventure, I am excited to share some of the truly amazing meals I have eaten during that time. They were a fantatsic success in my recent ‘Spring Cleaning’ cooking class and are totally suitable for all those of you who don’t have the slightest interest in doing a detox. The recipes below are inspired by the ones in the book ‘Clean‘. I used different ideas and combined them in the Quinoa Salad recipe, but the Stir-Fry recipe is almost identical to the one in the book.

Quinoa Salad with Ginger-Miso Dressing


serves 4


for the salad

  • 1/2 cup white quinoa, rinsed and drained or a mixture of white and black or red quinoa
  • 4 spring onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small zucchini or cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, soaked in water for 2 hours, drained
  • 2 cups of mixed greens, washed and picked

for the dressing

  • 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup white sweet miso, also called young ‘shiro’ rice miso
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon light agave nectar (optional)


Place rinsed quinoa in a small saucepan with 3/4 cup of water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer with lid on for 12-15 minutes or until germ ring is visible and quinoa has softened. Remove from stove, fluff quinoa with a fork and let cool.

To make dressing; in a food processor, blend ginger, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and miso. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If it’s too sour, add one teaspoon of light agave nectar and give it another whiz. Add 1 tablespoon of water if you prefer a runnier dressing.

Mix quinoa with chopped herbs, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Stir in dressing. Serve on top of greens on large platter.

Stir-Fried Vegetables with Chicken and Buckwheat Soba Noodles


serves 4


  • 250 g 100% Buckwheat Soba
  • 2 carrots, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced thinly
  • 1 baby bok choi, sliced length wise
  • 3 spring onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • olive or natural (not toasted) sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon wheat free tamari or nama shoyu
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

for the cooked chicken breasts

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper


To make marinade, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add chicken breasts to marinade and coat evenly. Cover and put in fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

Place marinated chicken breasts with marinade in oven proof dish, cover with aluminium foil and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Let cool slightly before cutting into thin slices.

In the meantime, bring 2 quarts (2 liters) water to boil in a large pot. Add noodles, stir and cook according to package instructions.

When the noodles are done, place in colander and rinse with cold water. This will prevent them from turning into a sticky mess. Place drained noodles in a large bowl. Toss with toasted sesame oil and set aside..

For the stir-fry, heat wok or heavy pan on high heat and add 1 tablespoon of natural sesame or olive oil. Add ginger and garlic and fry for one minute, stirring constantly. Add vegetables, except for spring onions and coriander, stirring and tossing for about 5 minutes. Vegetables should retain their colour and a nice crunch.

Add tamari or nama shoyu, lime juice, spring onions, salt and pepper to wok. Stir once more and turn heat off. Sprinkle with coriander.

Toss in a bowl with soba noodles. Serve with sliced chicken breast on the side.

Stir-Fry with Soba Noodles

Ever since eating at Wagamama in London in the mid-90s, I love soba noodles. The texture and hint of buckwheat make them perfect in soups and stir-fries. Ideally I’d buy the 100% buckwheat ones, but being prized around AU$10 (US$ 8) for 250g, I gladly stick to the ones containing mainly whole wheat and only a small amount of buckwheat. They’re not gluten-free and will therefore not be perfect for everyone, but for now and for us, they’ll do.

Almost any vegetables in any quantities and combination work well in this dish, so whatever you like and is in season is good. It’s a great way to get rid of bits and pieces stuck to the bottom of you fridge. If I use pumpkin, I usually peel and dice it, toss it in oil and roast for 20 minutes or until tender. I then add it to the remaining vegetables just before serving; this way the pumpkin won’t turn to mush. I do the same with the tofu, cutting it into small cubes, seasoning it with toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper, before spreading it out on a roasting pan and baking it for 15 minutes. When slightly browned and firmed up, I add it to the other vegetables. I like to add a little vegetable broth or miso for extra slurpiness and dulse flakes for their nutritional value, but neither is essential.

As you’ll notice below, I use natural and toasted sesame oil. The toasted one has a strong taste and I like to use it as a seasoning rather than for frying. If you want to buy only one of the two, by the natural one, you can use it for most asian-inspired dishes. If you have neither at hand, canola or peanut oil work as well.

If I have home made vegetable or chicken stock at hand, I frequently turn this dish into a soup. I first put the cooked noodles in individual bowls, top them with vegetables and tofu, pour some broth over it and sprinkle with coriander. Yum!

Serves 6


1 1/2 9.5 oz packages Soba noodles

1 inch ginger, peeled and finely chopped

3 medium cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 small broccoli, cut into florets

1/3 cauliflower, cut into florets

2 small zucchini, cut lengthwise and the into 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) half moons

2 carrots, peeled and cut into dice

2 hand fulls snow peas, trimmed and cut in half

1 punnet mushrooms, trimmed and halved or quartered

1/4 pumpkin, peeled and diced

2 packages firm tofu, drained

1 bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves and thin stems only, chopped

4 spring onions, cut into small rings

1 tablespoon dulse flakes

1-2 cups vegetable or miso broth

low-sodium soy sauce

sesame oil, natural and toasted

sea salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 180 C (350F). Toss pumpkin pieces with natural sesame oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on baking tray and roast until done (approx 20 min). Cut tofu into 1 cm (1/2″) dice, toss with toasted sesame oil, a few glugs of soy sauce, salt and pepper and bake in oven for 15 minutes until lightly browned and crisp on the outside.

While pumpkin and tofu are baking, heat water in large pasta pot to cook soba noodles. Try and time it so that your noodles are ready approximately at the same time as your vegetables. The noodles only need a couple of minutes to cook (100% soba noodles need a little longer) and stick together quite vehemently if you drain them and leave them sitting in the pot. I add a bit of broth and sesame oil to the noodles as soon as they are done and divide them into large bowls as quickly as possible.

While your noodle water is getting ready, heat up vegetable broth or water for miso.

At the same time, heat 2 tablespoons of natural sesame oil (canola works as well) in a deep fry pan or wok, add ginger and garlic and fry for about a minute. Be careful it will burn quickly. Add remaining vegetables and fry, stirring frequently, until vegetables are done, but still have a nice bite to them. You can add a bit of water to the vegetables, if they don’t release enough moisture. When the texture is just right for you, add roast pumpkin, tofu, spring onions and dulse flakes, season with salt and pepper and mix gently. Pour some broth over it, carefully not turning it into soup (unless that’s what you’re going for, see above), and garnish with chopped coriander.