This tofu soba noodles is a little bit warm, a little bit chilled, and completely delicious. The tofu, tasting lightly of soy sauce and the grill; the soba salad with its buckwheat noodles and crispy vegetables; the traditional Japanese tamago omelet seasoned with rice wine and sugar is all brought together by our tangy Carrot Miso Lime Dressing. The tofu pressing, the dressing, the tamago, and the noodles can easily be done in advance. Then, just before you are ready to serve, simply do a quick grilling of the tofu and the baby corn, and you’ve got a perfect summer meal.
For the Tofu:
- 1 block (12 to 14 ounces) firm tofu
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
For the Carrot Miso Lime Dressing:
- 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped (about ½ cup)
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- Juice and zest of 2 limes (about ¼ cup)
- ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
- ¼ cup white miso paste
- ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
- ¼ cup canola
- ¼ cup mirin
- 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, roughly chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 2 teaspoons ground white pepper
- ¼ cup soy sauce
For the Buckwheat Soba Noodle Salad:
- 1 12-ounce package buckwheat soba noodles
- 1 cup fresh raw baby corn, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 avocado
- 1 cup raw mung bean sprouts
- 2 stalks celery, trimmed and cut into julienne strips
- ½ small jicama, peeled and cut into julienne strips
- 1 cup raw snow peas, trimmed and cut into julienne strips
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
For the Tamago:
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Line a flat baking dish with 3 paper towels layered on top of one another. Place the tofu on the pile, cover with 3 more paper towels, and place a heavy saucepan on top. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes so the tofu can release its liquid.
- While you are pressing the tofu, make the dressing by placing the carrot, rice vinegar, lime juice and zest, toasted sesame seeds, miso paste, oils, mirin, ginger, agave nectar, white pepper, and soy sauce in a blender or food processor. Blend at high speed until smooth. Set aside. (This dressing will keep, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 1 week.) Shake well before serving.
- Prepare the soba noodles according to the package instructions and place in a covered container in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled.
- For the tamago: Spray a flat skillet or the flat side of a rimmed nonstick griddle with nonstick vegetable oil spray and heat over low heat. In a small mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, mirin, sugar, and salt, and gently pour about ¼ of the mixture into the pan, swirling it so that it coats the bottom of the pan in a very thin layer. Cook for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until it sets gently. Remove from the heat, and using a small offset spatula, lift an edge and gently roll it up tightly, jelly-roll style. (The soft eggs in the center will help it stick together). Roll it out onto a plate. Repeat with the remaining egg batter until you have 4 tamago omelets.
- Heat a grill to medium heat. After tofu has drained, slice it into 2-inch long pieces and drizzle it on both sides with the soy sauce and 1 tablespoon canola oil. Coat the baby corn with 1 tablespoon of the canola oil.
- Place the tofu on the grill and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Then, with tongs, rotate ¼ turn (this will create a decorative diamond grill mark pattern–don’t turn over yet) and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer. With tongs, turn the tofu over, cook for 1 to 2 minutes, rotate it ¼ turn, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
- While the tofu is grilling, place the corn on the grill, placing it perpendicular to the grates. Grill for about 1 minute, turn and grill for 1 to 2 minutes longer, until the corn is warm and slightly charred.
- Just before you are ready to serve, pit and peel the avocado and cut it lengthwise into ¼-inch strips (see Kitchen Tip). Cut each tamago crosswise into 4 pieces.
- Place one-fourth of the soba into each of 4 serving bowls. Arrange one-fourth of the avocado strips, the mung beans, celery, jicama, snow peas, grilled corn, tofu strips, and tamago in each bowl, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.
- The avocado contains a large round pit that can be awkward to remove. Here is one way that is especially good if you need to slice it: With a sharp knife, cut around the avocado lengthwise (you won’t be able cut straight through because of the pit). With a hand on each half, twist the halves in opposite directions to detach them. The pit will still firmly attached to one side. Carefully dig the blade (not the tip) of your knife into the pit and twist to remove the pit (don’t go too deep or you’ll never get that knife back out safely). Peel and slice the avocado. If you aren’t serving the avocado immediately, acidulate the flesh with a little lemon or lime juice to prevent it from turning brown when exposed to the air.