Sunday, 11 January 2015

Clear Vegetable Broth with Soba Noodles and Chilli Tofu

After two weeks of utter stinking hot temperatures and raging bush fires, the weather plunged into the depths of what can only be described as an autumnal week. Rain, fog and high winds.

Native animals have faced the devastation of their environment and food sources with local fires and now they are threatened with flood waters. What ever next? Eucalyptus trees are losing their bark at an alarming rates shredding into strips as the wind picks it up and hurtles it into the streets and on to neighbouring roof tops.

Although there is some compensation; the vegetable patch is enjoying the rain, we might actually get some tomatoes this year now and just yesterday I noticed that the beetroot was showing signs of recovery.

This had led me into thinking that it might be a gentle soup kind of day. Unable to get out and finish the weeding, I decided the pantry needed its annual clean out and right at the back I found two packets of Soba Noodles.

I had planned on making a Green Tofu Curry and had bought Tofu already, but it was time for something a little different.

This soup can be made in stages and when you have a little time in the kitchen you could make the broth/soup a day or couple of days before putting it all together. It makes enough for 4 or 6 people, is easy to adapt for more  or less people and any left over stock can be kept in the freezer for another day.

As you can see I don't worry about getting all the tofu the same size. I just dice it up quickly and throw it in the wok. It all tastes the same anyway.

Clear Vegetable Broth with Soba Noodle and Chilli Tofu 

For 4 people you will need:


Soba noodles
4 cups of water
1 large carrot, very finely sliced
1 onion, very finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, very finely diced
2 sticks of celery, finely sliced
Salt and pepper
3 spring onions very finely sliced
1 small leek, very finely sliced
Soy Sauce - I use Tamari
a few handfuls of Kale, very finely sliced
1 small tin bamboo shoots
1 lime or lemon
A small bunch of parsley, fresh thyme and bay leaves, tied together with string


350g Firm Tofu
pinch chilli flakes
salt and pepper
zest of a lemon or lime

There are two ways to cook the tofu. Either baked in the oven or in a wok. I prefer to use the wok but it does mean that you need to use a little more oil. I think the tofu is crispier when it is cooked in the wok. However, it is your choice. The preparation is the same.

Take the firm tofu and dry it with paper towel. Cut it into cubes and sprinkle liberally with salt, chilli flakes and the zest of the lime or lemon. Using your hands gently rub the marinade into the tofu and set aside for about one hour.

To make the broth, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan and on a very low heat cook the garlic and onion until the edge start to turn brown. This will take about 8 minutes. Add celery, carrot and leek and mix this around for a few minutes until they start to caramelise. Then add 4 cups of water, salt and pepper and the herb bundle.

Bring to the boil, lower the heat to a very low simmer and cook for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool. Strain out the vegetables, retaining about half of the carrots.

If you wish to bake the tofu,  place on a baking tray, spray with oil and place in a hot oven 190 - 200 degrees/ 350 - 400 until it starts to brown. Turn over and continue to bake. This will all take around 30 - 40 minutes. Or if you have decided to fry using a wok, add oil and cook in batches until brown and crunchy.

Boil a large pan of water, add a pinch of salt and add the soba noodles. Bring back to the boil then simmer for  around 15 minutes , but check the label for cooking times. While these are cooking, heat up your broth, adding the bamboo shoots.

To assemble;

Once the noodles are cooked, add a small quantity to each serving bowl. Divide the tofu equally into each bowl. Divide the kale between bowls and then using a ladle, add broth to each bowl. Squeeze with lime or lemon juice, a teaspoon of soy sauce and a sprinkling of spring onions. Serve.

You may wish to adjust the seasonings with additional salt and adding a wedge of lime or lemon.

This is so heartwarming, low calorie, high protein and so full of goodness it will put a rosy glow on your cheeks and a smile on your face.

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