Crispy Tofu with Soba Noodles
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ pound firm tofu, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into ½-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 4 carrots, julienned
½ pound fresh shiitake mushrooms
3 scallions, thinly sliced, thinly sliced, green parts included
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 Bosc pear, peeled, cored, and julienned
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
½ pound soba noodles
In a wok or deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the tofu and sauté on all sides until browned. Remove with slotted spoon to paper toweling to drain. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan over high heat. Add the carrots. Stir-fry until almost tender, just a few minutes, then add the mushrooms, scallions, ginger, and pear. Stir-fry until the vegetables are cooked but not soft.
Meanwhile, bring at least 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the noodles, stir to separate the strands, and cook until almost al dente. They will cook further when combined with other ingredients, so they should not be fully cooked at this point.
While the noodles are cooking, add to the wok or skillet the ¼ cup water, soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil, mixing well with the vegetables. Bring to a simmer.
When the noodles are ready, drain thoroughly and add to the soy mixture. Add more water if the noodles seem to dry. Cook until the liquid is absorbed and the noodles and sauce are evenly combined. Transfer to a warm serving platter and top with the tofu.