October has brightened up considerably since my last post: it's been sunny and in the mid 70s for the past few days. To celebrate the bonus summer weather, we made an exuberantly fresh Thai tofu noodle soup for dinner last night. Technically, this is more of a summer recipe, thanks to the snap peas, jalapeno pepper, and fresh basil. Since peas aren't in season anymore, I had to buy them at the grocery store. I was able to use locally-sourced jalapeno pepper and basil, since I stashed a dozen jalapenos in the freezer at the height of summer and my basil plant is still producing despite the best efforts of our homeowner's association (I came home from work last week to find my herb garden covered in three inches of landscaping rock, including my garden gnome, who was buried up to his waist. Yes, technically I had not applied for a landscaping variance to put an herb garden in the one-foot-by-two-foot patch of dirt alongside our sidewalk, but couldn't they at least have moved the gnome first?)
When making this soup, don't skip the garnishes--they provide much of the soup's vibrant flavor. The leftover soup is even better the next day, when the flavor of the ginger has deepened and the tofu is saturated with the garlicky broth. It may even be delicious enough to make you forget about the damage to your herb garden and your partially entombed garden gnome.
Adapted from the Real Simple recipe by Charlyne Mattox
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained, patted dry, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 3/4 pound rice noodles
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 green onions, chopped, white and green parts separated
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 pound snap peas
- 4 lime wedges
- 2 tablespoons diced jalapeno pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and season with salt. Cook, turning occasionally, until the tofu is light brown, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the rice noodles according to package directions.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the white parts of the green onions, ginger, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is light brown, about two to three minutes. Add the broth and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Add the peas and cook until peas are crisp-tender, about one to two minutes.
Divide the prepared rice noodles into four bowls. Pour the broth over the noodles and top with the prepared tofu. Squeeze a lime wedge over each serving and garnish with the green parts of the green onions, jalapeno pepper, and basil.