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
- 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.
- Add the water and the tofu and bring to a boil. Boil the tofu for several minutes.
- Turn the heat to simmer and add the tamari.
- Stir in the spinach to wilt.
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- Add the oil and toss to coat the noodles.
- Add vinegar, tamari, chili, garlic, ginger, sugar and pepper, and mix well.
- 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.
- 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.