Off Topic: Hot and Sour Ramen with Tofu, Shiitakes and Spinach

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 The Best 30-Minute Recipes
Serves 4

Printable version

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

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.

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.

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.

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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