Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cilantro Noodle Bowl - mmmmm nom nom nom

So, I saw a recipe for "Cilantro Noodle Bowl" on 101 Cookbooks (one of my new favorite blogs) and it totally screamed my name. Not only do I L-O-V-E cilantro, I have been dying to test out the food processor Anna gave me as a wedding present (shhh! I'm probably not supposed to use it until after we get married).

The entire cooking process only took about 30 minutes (maybe less), though I do regret "dirtying" so many dishes and apparatuses for Dan in the process. (Thanks for washing everything, Dan!)

Cilantro Noodle Bowl Recipe

For those of you who aren't familiar with baby Romanesco, you can see it in the second photo in this post. Feel free to substitute any other (lightly cooked) vegetable you prefer - many will work well with the buckwheat and cilantro.

8 ounces dried soba noodles

2 - 3 cups baby Romanesco or broccoli florets (I used broccoli, cauliflower and quartered portobello mushrooms totaling about 4 cups)

zest of one lemon

2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped

2 large cloves garlic (I used 4)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder (I used a whole teaspoon or more since I like the heat)

1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

scant 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

12 ounces extra-firm nigari tofu 

(the tofu was fine, though Dan suggested using shrimp next time, which sounds like an excellent idea)

Cook the soba in a big pot of rapidly boiling salted water just until tender - but about 20 seconds before the pasta is done cooking add the Romanesco (or broccoli) to the pot. You want it to barely cook. Now drain and rinse under cold running water. Sprinkle with lemon zest and set aside.

In the meantime make the dressing by combining the cilantro, garlic, cayenne, salt, and olive oil. Blend in a food processor or chop by hand. Taste, adjust for more salt if needed and set aside.

Drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into rectangles roughly the size of your thumb (1/2 inch thick and 1 inch long). Cook the tofu in a dry nonstick (or well-seasoned) skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy. Remove from skillet, let cool a bit and if desired cut into matchsticks (as seen in the photo), sometimes I don't bother and use larger pieces instead.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, Romanesco and a couple big splashes of the cilantro dressing. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and gently toss again, add more dressing and a couple pinches of salt if needed. Turn out onto platter and crown with a couple pinches of cayenne and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Serves about 4 - 6. 

(More wonderful recipes at

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