Almond Soba Noodles with Pea Shoots

Almond Soba IngredientsYet another reason to love pea shoots, and San Francisco-based Heidi Swanson, author of the 101 Cookbooks blog and wonderful cookbooks. If you don’t know about Heidi, check out her blog. Wonderful recipes and beautiful photography (unlike here, where the flash bounces off the tablet, and Grey Cat forgets to take a pic of the final dish).

Anyway, soba noodles, almond butter, pea shoots, basil, Thai curry paste. What’s not to love? I didn’t have any almond butter, so made my own in the food processor (1C almonds toasted on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees, then buzzed in the processor with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil until smooth). And don’t be afraid of the tofu, it was quite tasty here. This is a FAST dish to prepare, and the leftovers were good cold the next day.

Almond Soba Noodles with Pea Shoots

2 teaspoons red curry paste
1/3 cup unsalted almond butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
very scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
6 – 8 tablespoons hot water
12 ounces dried soba noodles
12 ounces extra-firm nigari tofu
4 ounces pea shoots (or other greens, or tiny pieces of broccoli)
12 leaves fresh basil, slivered
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Make the almond sauce by mashing the curry paste into the almond butter. Stir in the lemon juice and salt. And then whisk in the hot water one tablespoon at a time until you have a pourable dressing that is about as thick as a heavy cream. The dressing thickens as it cools, so feel free to thin it out with more water later on if needed. Taste, and add more salt or more curry paste if you like.

Cook the soba in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water just until tender, then drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain and shake off as much water as possible.

While the pasta is cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into matchsticks or 1/2-inch cubes. Cook the tofu, along with a pinch or two of salt, in a well-seasoned skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Add a tiny splash of oil if needed to prevent sticking. Toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy. About 15 seconds before the tofu has finished cooking, add the pea shoots to the hot pan.

In a large bowl combine the noodles with 2/3 of the almond sauce. Toss well, be sure all the noodles get coated. Arrange the tofu and pea shoots on top of the noodles, drizzle with the remaining sauce, and garnish with the slivered basil and toasted almonds.

Serves 6-8 as a side, less as a main.

Prep time: 10 min – Cook time: 20 min