Spring Pea, Tofu Stir Fry with Soba Noodles
"Apparently when you grow up you don't lose your imagination." said my oldest daughter as she scooped another forkful of this fresh blend of flavors and intriguing combination of textures. Each of the spices combine distinctly enough to show you they're there but working quite well together. The crunch of the sugar snap peas, the solid yet soft tofu and slightly chewy soba noodles surprise your palate pleasingly!
I'd just told her this is a new recipe I'd recently created and wondered what she thought. After she affirmed my adult imagination, the highest kind of compliment coming from my extremely imaginative six year old, she said it is one of her favorites! Yipee! I love kitchen success with my kiddos! Especially when it nourishes their little bodies just right, giving them the opportunity to fall in love with real foods.
I considered leaving it at that since I was quite satisfied with my rave review. But, I turned to my harder-to-please younger daughter. She's four years old and very often puts up a fight. When she was nine months, my sister called her The CEO as she demanded and refused certain tastes and textures with her hands waving and finger pointing from the highchair.
But I asked anyways, "And what do you think?" I had a hint as she poked her fork into more tofu but I held my breath anyways.
"I love this recipe!" she exclaimed simply with a smile. I had to post a picture to prove it! That way, the next time I make it and she tries to refuse, I have documentation of her previous enthusiastic approval.
I smiled and sat down...triumphant, I might add! Even my tough food critic weighed in well.
No life lesson on this one, Friends. Just sweet success....because you know, an imagination comes in handy in the kitchen!
The bright green hues and fresh flavor of the peas make this dish pleasing for presentation and palate. Peas are often overlooked as a power food. They possess many antioxidants and phytonutrients aiding in cancer prevention (gastric cancers specifically) also highly noted for anti-inflammatory properties. Peas, while sweet and a bit starchy, are relatively low on the glycemic index and offer good amounts of fiber and protein. Combined with these spices and nutrient-rich soba noodles, this dish is a true warm-weather winner!
- Organic Tofu*
- 1 small or ½ large yellow onion chopped into small pieces
- 3 or 4 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger (or about ½ teaspoon ginger powder)**
- 2 cups sugar snap peas, washed, strings removed and halved
- 2 tablespoons organic unrefined coconut oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons organic sesame oil, divided
- 3 tablespoons Bragg liquid amino acids, divided
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
- ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- A few grinds of fresh peppercorns or a few shakes of the the pepper shaker
- Soba noodles (buckwheat noodles)***
- Optional first step: Prepare the tofu. Slice your block of tofu long-wise into a few wide, equally thick strips. Lay them on top of an absorbent, clean towel and cover them with another. You do this to squeeze much of the moisture out. So, I fill a large pan with water and set it right on top of the towel-covered tofu for an hour or so. You don’t have to do this step, but I find tofu’s texture is more pleasing without the excess moisture.
- Once your tofu is as ‘dry’ as you want it, slice it into small squares. In 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil, sauté the tofu squares until slightly golden browned (see photo). Stir fairly frequently. Remove from the pan. It will be added back to the veggies at the end to prevent it from crumbling too much more.
- While your tofu cooks, chop! Chop your garlic, onion and ginger (if using fresh). De-vein your sugar snap peas and slice them in half (short-ways so the little peas are still in the pod). Don’t forget to pause to stir the tofu.
- In a large sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil. Add one tablespoon of the sesame oil and sauté the onion, garlic, sugar snap peas and ginger (if using fresh). Cook until onion is opaque and it’s all nice and fragrant.
- Meanwhile start a pot of water boiling for the soba noodles. And add the noodles once boiling. Be sure to watch because soba noodles only take about 3 or 4 minutes to cook. Drain when ready and return to the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and about a tablespoon of liquid amino acids (or soy sauce) and stir. Cover and let sit while you finish the rest of the stir fry.
- Now back to the pan with the veggies. Add the spices: ginger (if powder), cinnamon, cloves, salt and a touch of pepper. Add the other two tablespoons of liquid amino acids and the fresh or frozen peas. Stir until well combined and cook another couple minutes.
- Gently mix in the tofu until it’s coated with the spices and sauce from the pan.
- Plate it up! Scoop some soba noodles on a plate or in a bowl and top with the veggie mixture. Enjoy! We didn’t have many leftovers for the three of us so if you’re feeding more than 4 people, I might make a bigger recipe!
*I don't eat much tofu, or other soy foods for that matter due to the issue of estrogens and the extremely high level of genetic modifying going on with soy crops in America. So, when I do buy and prepare soy foods, I choose organic (which are also GMO free). In this case, I went an extra step and used this brand: Wildwood Sprouted Organic Tofu
**This time I did the recipe (pictured) I used ginger powder. When I first was experimenting and got it right, I was using fresh ginger. Both are great. The fresh ginger lends more of a ginger-slightly-spicey version and the powder is a bit more subtle but still awesome.
***Soba noodles are made of buckwheat flour, a gluten free flour. Well, SOME soba noodles are made completely gluten free. Others combine regular wheat flour and buckwheat. So, you'll need to read the label if you want completely gluten free. Here are the ones I used this time: BUY Gluten Free Soba Noodles Here