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Another favorite from Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best 30-Minute Recipes and another great option for vegetarians, or flexitarians having a meat-free night.  And, with the exception of the shiitakes, a good choice for Cheapetarians (thanks to the brilliant use of those perennially inexpensive ramen noodles minus the nasty sodium “flavor” packet).  Seriously, are ramen noodles secretly some kind of government-subsidized food?  They were 4 for $1 when I was in college and they still seem to be about the same price.  Or maybe there aren’t many variables or market fluctuations in the pressed-noodle brick industry.  Or maybe these are the same ones they were selling at the Bloomington, Indiana Kroger in 1983.  Who would know?  Which means post-apocalypse we could be left with Keith Richards and ramen noodles.  Party on.

What I love about this dish is right there in its name: it’s hot and it’s sour.  There is so much flavor in the broth thanks in part to just a squirt of the almighty Srircha sauce.  It’s just a little spicy and if you don’t like tofu you can easily leave it out.  Or substitute some leftover chicken, pork, or beef.  Sometimes I serve this alone but tonight I added some frozen edamame.  If you buy pre-sliced mushrooms (like I do) this won’t even take the 30 minutes advertised.

 

Hot and Sour Ramen with Tofu, Shiitakes and Spinach (adapted from Best 30-Minute Recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz. package extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce (Sriracha)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3-1/2 cups vegetable broth or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 3-oz. packages ramen noodles (any flavor since you're going to toss the flavor packet)
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 6-oz. bag baby spinach

Instructions

  1. Pat tofu dry with paper towels and toss with 2 teaspoons of soy sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 12" non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Lightly brown tofu on several sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer tofu to a clean bowl.
  2. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in chili sauce, garlic, and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in broth. Break bricks of ramen into small hunks and add to skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring to separate ramen, until noodles are just tender but there is still liquid in the pan, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Stir in spinach by the handfuls and toss until wilted. Stir in tofu and serve.
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