Stir-fried dinners are a standard in my home and I’m always looking for a variation on the sauce theme. Today I’m sharing with you a new flavour for my sauce, the exotic Umeboshi paste. This stir-fry takes on a Japanese flair with the combination of soba noodles, tofu, and a sauce enhanced with the piquant umeboshi.
Umeboshi, also known as Japanese plum paste, is a rich purple paste made from pureed pickled, salted plums. The flavour is intense, salty and pungent and you only need a small amount to enhance any salad dressing or sauce. It can be bought at Asian food stores, and happily, I was able to find it at Rainbow Foods in Ottawa, on Richmond Road.
After searching for recipes using umeboshi, I found this stir-fry, Soba Noodles with Snow Peas and Mushrooms. The only change I made to the recipe was to use enoki mushrooms instead of regular mushrooms just because they were fresh and available, but any fresh mushroom is fine.
Best to prepare the ingredients for the sauce first. Rice vinegar and tamari soy sauce (Japanese wheat-free soy sauce) are always a staple in my pantry. Along with some sugar, red pepper flakes, black and white sesame seeds and my new staple, umeboshi paste, the sauce is easily blended.
The ingredients for the stir-fry are soba noodles, snow peas, mushrooms and tofu.
It is important that the tip and string is removed from each snow pea; otherwise they can be chewy when cooked.
Cook the soba noodles according to the package. These noodles have a heartier flavour than regular noodles as they consist of a mix of wheat flour and buckwheat flour.
Heat the oil in a wok or fry pan and brown the tofu cubes first. Once they are golden, remove them from the wok and put them aside in a bowl. Add the mushrooms and snow peas and fry until the mushrooms are soft and the snow peas are tender crisp and bright green. Add the soba noodles and tofu back and mix everything together. Pour the sauce over and heat through. Remove it from the heat and add a dash of sesame oil.
I served this stir-fry with baked salmon with a sweet-smoky-spicy-rub that I posted earlier in That’s the Salmon Rub. However, the noddles are delicious on their own, eaten the traditional Japanese way in a bowl…with chopsticks.
Stir fried Soba Noodles with Snow Peas and Mushrooms
Ingredients for the Stir fry
About 8 oz soba noodles, cooked according to package instructions, rinsed in cold water and drained, and set aside in a colander
1 pint fresh snow peas, rinsed, tips and strings removed
8 oz fresh, sliced mushrooms
1 package of firm tofu in water, drained, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon oil for cooking
Sea salt (optional, there is enough salt in the sauce)
Dash of sesame oil
Ingredients for the sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup tamari (Japanese wheat-free soy sauce)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon umeboshi paste
A few pinches each of red pepper flakes, black sesame seeds and white sesame seeds, to taste
- Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, combine rice vinegar, tamari, sugar, umeboshi paste, red pepper flakes and sesame seeds, and whisk until fully incorporated. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over high heat. Add the tofu and stir-fry until golden brown, then remove from the wok and set aside in a bowl.
- Add the snow peas and mushrooms to the wok (you may need to add a drop more peanut oil if the wok has become too dry). Stir-fry until the peas are just tender but still crisp (and bright green) and the mushrooms are just browned and soft.
- Add the cooked, rinsed and drained noodles to the wok (you may need to run them under water and drain again if they’re stuck together), along with the cooked tofu. Add the stir-fry sauce to the wok over the noodles and veggies. Stir-fry and toss until noodles start to brown slightly and veggies, tofu and noodles are well-coated with sauce. Remove from heat and stir in a dash of sesame oil. Sprinkle on some more sesame seeds, if desired. Serve in shallow bowls and eat with chopsticks.