Mercedes is one of my favourite food bloggers – she also studied (and taught) macrobiotics at the Kushi Institute in Amsterdam, now she´s running her own cooking school in Almere in the Netherlands. I yet have to taste her fabulous dishes, but my mouth waters each time I read her inventive recipes which are usually influenced by her Caribbean roots 😀
Check out her dancing soba recipe!
I modified it slightly: Instead of soba noodles I used black rice noodles (made by the Terrasana company), for vegetables I used leek, garlic, carrot, green peas and young savoy cabbage, and I tweaked the ratios of the seasonings a bit (2 tbsp rice vinegar, 3 tbsp mirin and 2 1/2 tbsp tamari).
As a topping I made pan-fried cubes of dried tofu, which you first have to soak, then strain the liquid out (most of it, but not every drop, otherwise it soaks up a bit too much of the oil) and then fry it in a shallow layer of sesame oil until browned and slightly crispy.
Gorgeous looking and tasting soup….
Dried tofu tastes so very different than fresh tofu. If you don´t add any seasonings, then it tastes and looks literall like a wet sponge, even exactly the same texture as the sponge used for wiping blackboards 😀 On the other hand if you first fry it and then soak it in a yummy marinade…both the texture and most of all the flavour change and you will be surprised what a transformation that is!
In any case, first you have to soak the slices of dried tofu (they come in small blocks), a couple minutes will do. Then squeeze out the water, but not completely, they should be still quite moist, otherwise they soak up too much oil. Slice up the blocks into strips. Gently pan-fry them in oil of choice, until light golden. Then place in a bowl with a marinade and set aside for at least half an hour – I used water, tamari soy sauce and apple cider vinegar. You can play with the ratios…
When your tofu is almost ready to be taken out, sautee some sliced onion with a pinch of salt, adding carrot slices and broccoli florets/stems and cooking them until softened. Add the marinated tofu strips and heat through.
I served the dish with a rice/hato mugi mixture.
This is quite a fancy way to serve arame, especially to people who are not thrilled by the vision of eating seaweed – and there are too many of them! 😀 Adding rich ingredients such as almonds and deep-fried tofu always helps…
First prepare your tofu – you could use regular firm tofu, OR dried tofu, which has both a very different flavour and texture, that I really enjoy – if it´s prepared properly. First soak the dried tofu for about 15 minutes, then squeeze out water with your hands, but don´t squeeze too hard, you want the tofu to stay moist, retaining a bit of liquid, otherwise they soak up too much oil. Deep fry the soaked tofu slices until light golden, let them rest for a while on napkinks to drain excess oil and cut up into cubes when cooled down.
Meanwhile you can take a handful of arame seaweed and soak it, also for about 15 minutes, then drain and rinse with fresh water. Sautee onion in a pot with a tiny bit of sesame oil and a pinch of salt, add soaked arame, chopped carrot, curly cabbage and daikon (I used the green variety). Add roasted almonds (I roasted them for maybe 15 minutes in the oven, on a tray with a silicone baking mat). Season with 2 TBSP shoyu soy sauce, 1 TBSP rice vinegar and about half a teaspoon of dried ginger powder. Add fried tofu cubes and enough water to nearly cover. Simmer on a low flame for half an hour, adding water as needed, but only very little at a time.
I served the arame dish with a rice/hato mugi mixture and some raw greens (edible weeds).