The search for a vegetarian version of my udon noodles with a soy-ginger sauce continues. A quick recap: The pescatarian version of my udon noodles — topped with roasted salmon — earns an A from The Professor.
But I’ve been trying to develop a vegetarian version.
For my first attempt, I used fried cubes of tofu bought at Whole Foods, but the cubes were too big and required cutting. Early in our marriage, when I was still passionate about our wedding presents, I would have jumped at the opportunity to use the new steak knives. But, while I still love the knives (thanks again, Ruth and Andras!), using them to re-cube the tofu mid-meal was a drag.
I decided to fry my own. So next time, I sliced a brick of tofu in two, pressed out the water, and cut the halves into perfectly bite-able cubes. But things went downhill from there … and I decided to try baking
Again, I sliced the brick of tofu in half the long way and pressed out the excess water. I let it sit in a marinade of soy sauce, mirin, garlic and ginger. And then I baked it at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. And then another 5 minutes. And another five. I kept hoping that the tofu would start to crisp!
Eventually I gave up and served it. The result: the tofu was definitely tasty and brought more flavor to the dish than the unseasoned fried versions I’d already tried. But it was also spongy. It lacked any crispness.
“If you’d never served me the noodles with salmon, I might have thought this was great,” said The Professor. “But it’s definitely not as good as the version with fish.”
So the search continues. But I am optimistic, in part because my friend Joanne, who doesn’t cook, offered up her fiance, who does. I’m hoping to get a lesson in frying tofu from Sean soon.