This past weekend, I cleaned out my freezer and discovered several containers of frozen homemade stock lurking in the very back, alongside a full bag of hollow lemongrass husks, which I usually use to make tea. As I removed them from the freezer to thaw, I decided I’d combine the two to make a delicate and flavorful broth for a noodle dish. Light and delicate, yet rich and savory, this is the perfect base for any asian-style noodle dish. Although there is a lot going on in this bowl, the star here is the broth—besides the tofu and soba noodles, all of the other components are nice, but not necessary.
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for the tofu
- 1 block of tofu, pressed and cut into triangles
- 3/4 cup mirin
- 1 TB prepared galangal root
- 1 TB soy sauce
for the broth
- small piece of ginger, about the size of your thumb, cut into thin matchstick-sized pieces
- 5–6 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 4–6 cups of homemade stock
- 4–6 lemongrass stalks, hearts removed and reserved
- 1–2 frozen cubes of vegan fish sauce (optional)
- 2 TB soy sauce
- 1 TB sugar
optional components to add
- cooked soba noodles
- gently sauteed and sliced lemongrass hearts
- sliced carrots
- sliced scallions
- raw kale
- shallots, gently sauteed
- dried shiitake caps, soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes
- fresh cilantro
- In a shallow glass pyrex dish, combine the mirin, galangal and soy sauce. Place the well-pressed tofu into the marinade, flip to ensure a good coverage of marinade, and place in the refrigerator for a few hours.
To make the broth
- Start by gently sauteing the ginger and garlic in a bit of oil in a medium-sized sauce pan for about 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Add in the stock, hollow lemongrass husks, vegan fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Stir well. Increase the heat to medium, and immediately dial it back to low once it starts to simmer.
To make the tofu
- Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the tofu and saute on each side for about 7 minutes, of until well-browned. Remove the lemongrass husks, then ladle the soup into bowls, top with tofu, and finish with whatever optional components you want.