September 21, 2013

Easy and delicious — spinach and tofu soup, and Katrina's cold Chinese noodles


Our friend Katrina is a fabulous cook, and we've had many amazing meals with her when we lived in Wisconsin. She is originally from China, and always cooks traditional Chinese food — but a vegan version. She doesn't use recipes so it's hard to get her to tell me exactly how to make a particular dish, but I watched her make spinach and tofu soup, and also got her to describe how she makes cold Chinese noodles. I made the two simple dishes at home and tweaked them to reproduce the flavors we enjoyed at Katrina's house. I've shared both of these recipes before — they are favorites of ours — and I'm sharing them again today.


The dishes are both fast and easy to prepare, and perfect for when you don't have much time to cook. The noodles are great as a make-ahead dish when company is coming. The noodles are supposed to have nori, but my husband says he doesn't like nori, and because he made the noodles this time, they have parsley instead. When I make them, they always have nori because it makes them taste extra special. My husband eats them with the nori, so I think what he doesn't like is the idea of nori. He likes the taste just fine. If you want to see more examples of Katrina's cooking, look here and here. You'll see the noodles with a nori garnish, and so much more. You'll even see Katrina herself!


Spinach soup with ginger and tofu
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons oil, as you prefer
  • 6 cups water
  • 12 to 14 ounces soft tofu, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach, washed
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  1. Sauté the ginger in the oil for a minute or two in a four quart pot. I grated my ginger on a microplane grater so it was very fine. If you are generous with the ginger and grate it fine, the soup will be spicy.
  2. Add the water and the tofu and bring to a boil. Boil the tofu for several minutes.
  3. Turn the heat to simmer and add the tamari.
  4. Stir in the spinach to wilt.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I ground both pink salt and mixed peppercorns. A few grinds was all it took to bring out the flavor.
Some variations:
Sauté minced garlic with the ginger.
Add grated or match stick carrots with the tofu.
Add sliced scallions just before serving.
Use low-sodium vegetable stock instead of water.
Make miso or mushroom broth to use instead of water.


Katrina's noodles
  • 8 ounces spaghetti (I used Ancient Harvest org. quinoa spaghetti, gluten-free)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (or brown rice vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili sauce (sambal oelek)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, cut fine (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced very fine
  • few grinds black pepper
  • 1 sheet seasoned or plain toasted nori, cut with scissors into small rectangles
  • chopped cilantro, optional
  1. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions al dente. When cooked, drain and rinse under cold running water to cool quickly. Drain noodles again and place in a bowl.
  2. Add the oil and toss to coat the noodles.
  3. Add vinegar, tamari, chili, garlic, ginger, sugar and pepper, and mix well.
  4. Just before serving, add the nori. Mix some in and transfer the noodles to a serving bowl. Arrange the remaining nori over the top of the noodles.
  5. Optional: Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Don't forget to leave a comment on Wednesday's RawSnacks post so you can be entered to win a four-pack of RawSnacks bars. You have until Sept. 30, 2013 to enter.

33 comments:

  1. They both look so good but that soup is calling my name. The sun's shining all toasty warm but there's a wicked west wind blowing straight through your bones today so a big bowl of steamy soup and a loaf of rustic homemade bread would thrill me silly. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes, soup and wind were made for each other.

      Delete
  2. Those noodles sound really wonderful! I have never heard of black vinegar but I think I have all other ingredients on hand!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We love the simplicity of the noodles — so flavorful and satisfying.

      Delete
  3. The photos of Katrina's feast are mind boggling. It all looks great. I do like nori, but I'm not sure I've ever had it with noodles - just rice, not that it would be all that different. It was probably delicious with parsley too, though. my friend had me smell chinese black vinegar recently and it was super intense. Still have yet to taste it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Katrina used to live in an apartment with a huge skylight over the dining table — perfect for displaying and photographing beautiful food. Her dinners were always spectacular and delicious. The nori goes perfectly with the noodles and compliments the other ingredients. I recommend it.

      Delete
  4. Chinese black vinegar? I've never heard of that! I think I've discovered a new excuse to trot off to the Asian market. The noodles sound terrific; although, I'll be doing the Ken method. I don't like the idea of nori or the flavor of it either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm happy to be able to provide you with an excuse to shop. We bloggers are good at that. I remember having to go get nacho supplies a while back after reading your blog. And also found it necessary to hit the store to make taco pizza. :D

      Delete
  5. Those both look beautiful! I am obsessed with soup, so this it definitely on my to do list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One can never eat too much soup. It makes everything seem better.

      Delete
  6. Lurves simple soups like this during the autumnal chill. And Andrea, I am THIS close from booking a trip to Thailand and I hold you personally responsible ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I take my responsibility very seriously and will be terribly distraught if you don't have a fabulous time. I hope you get to visit the UNESCO site in Sukhothai, and also the pottery studio. But, really, how can you go wrong?

      Delete
  7. "doesn't like the idea of it but likes the taste just fine" :D

    That sounds all too familiar. My hubby, sis and dad are all like this when it comes to certain foods. Don't tell them what's in there and they'll enjoy it. Haha

    The soup and noodles, both look delicious! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are some foods I really dislike and when I taste them I get upset — like fennel — but it is amazing what people say they don't like when they actually do.

      Delete
  8. Hey I just looked at the noodles pic again, isn't that garnish cilantro?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I don't remember, but you could be right. I think it's the parsley from our garden — the cilantro died — but honestly I don't know. :)

      Delete
  9. The soup sounds especially good with the weather turning colder. Two really great recipes! How lucky you are to have such a great friend.

    I love that you included a beautiful sunflower in a few of the shots. So lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The sunflower was a gift to me from Miss E. She picked it in her yard, and although the stem is barely an inch long, I've managed to keep it alive.

      Delete
  10. That soup sounds perfect--so simple and delicious!

    Courtney

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We love it — takes no time at all to make and tastes so good.

      Delete
  11. The next time your husband says something about this delicious soup...just ig Nori him. bahahaha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hardyharharhar. Nori a day goes by that I don't have to ig nori something.

      Delete
  12. Oh yum! Both of these look super yummy. I love noodles, like, more than any human being should :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is it about noodles that makes them so desirable?

      Delete
  13. They both look so healthy and tasty, I'd be hard pressed to choose between them. That soup probably just edges it I think - perfect autumn food!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't choose — make both! :)

      Delete
  14. No matter how many times I see these recipes I want them! Noodles rank right up with (vegan) cheese and chocolate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Noodles are so comforting — I love them in every shape and composition! (Except maybe kelp noodles. Haven't quite gotten on the kelp noodle train.)

      Delete
  15. I remember Katrina and her cold Chinese noodles. Mr. Wing-It is the same way about spinach. He doesn't like it, but if I mince it and add it to a soup he will not even think twice about it. These boys! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have a really good memory. :)

      Delete
  16. wow these both look incredible!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These are two of our favorites.

      Delete

Thanks for visiting Andrea's easy vegan cooking. I love, and read, all of your comments! Please share your thoughts.

There are a few Amazon links in the posts. Thanks in advance if you click on one.

Note: ALL THE IMAGES FROM THIS BLOG WERE ACCIDENTALLY DELETED ON 1-21-12. I'M RESTORING THEM, POST BY POST, BUT IT WILL TAKE A LONG TIME. Recipe pages you visit may be missing photos, but all the text in intact. If you find a post without images, let me know so I can fix it. Thanks!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails