Category: recipe

Kitsune Soba

Kitsune Soba

This isn’t a traditional recipe. This is a quick and dirty (read: easy and yummy) version of a hot soup made with soba noodles topped with deep fried tofu. Putting fried tofu on top of soba noodle soup makes it kitsune soba. Kitsune means fox in Japanese, and folklore says fox spirits are quite fond of fried tofu, hence the name “fox soba.” It’s delicious.

I like recipes that are flexible. Once you have the broth, the noodles, and the tofu, you can add whatever else you want on top. I chose to go light and easy, a few fresh pea shoots and thinly sliced raw carrots. Then I topped everything off with Bull Dog Sauce.

I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to put Bull Dog Sauce on soba noodle soup. But I did, and it was good, and no one yelled at me, so I’m pretty sure you can do it too if you want. It’s sort of a like a Japanese steak sauce/bbq sauce. There are many different variations, but I used the Fruit and Vegetable Semi-Sweet version. You can find it at any reasonably stocked asian grocer, or you can get it online here.

So, here’s the thing about my version of kitsune soba. The flavor is anchored in the salty, sweet, gingery broth. The tofu and vegetables are there mostly for contrasts in color, texture, and temperature. Since everything is presented plain, the broth does most the heavy lifting in the flavor department, but it also allows the raw ingredients to shine on their own.

Soba and Broth

Kitsune Soba
Serves Two

Oil, for frying
1 Package Soba Noodles
1/2 Block Extra Firm Tofu, sliced thinly
1 Small Carrot, peeled and sliced paper thin
Greens (microgreens, scallions, cilantro, whatever!)
Bull Dog Sauce, optional
Optional ideas: Sliced radish, sweet pepper, snow peas, cucumber

2 Tbs to 1/4 Cup Low Sodium Tamari (to taste, I used the whole 1/4 Cup)
1 Cup Water
1 Tbs Rice Vinegar
1 Tbs Sugar
1/2 Vegan Bullion Cube
1 Inch Ginger Root, peeled and sliced thinly

Add all the broth ingredients to a small pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and place a lid on the broth while preparing the rest of the meal. This allows all the gingery goodness to steep into the broth.

Place a pot of lightly salted water on to boil. Meanwhile, heat a cast iron or non-stick pan with oil, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Fry the tofu slices for several minutes on both sides until golden brown and very very crispy. Drain on a paper towel.

Fried Tofu

Once the water is boiling, add noodles and cook to package directions or until noodles are tender. My noodles were done in only 4 minutes, but the package said 6-7 minutes, so check them early to avoid over cooking.

Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water. Place the noodles in bowls and pour the hot broth over them, straining out the ginger pieces. Top with the fried tofu, sliced, as well as your vegetables and greens. Garnish with Bull Dog Sauce, if using.

You can easily make every part of this ahead, so this is a nice option for company, and it looks fancy too!

Kitsune Soba

Curried Chips with Lemon Sunflower Spread

Curried Chips with Lemon Sunflower Spread

Here’s a quick little snack I whipped up today to use up bagels and pita bread I (stupidly) bought before going out of town. Bagel and pita chips are really easy to make, and you can spice them however you like.

I also bought some roasted sunflower seeds, but had a hard time imagining how I could make it through 1 1/2 cups of them before they went bad. Clearly I’m not the most practical shopper.

I used garam masala to flavor my chips, but you should treat any spices (and especially, any ground spice mixes you have) as fair game for this recipe. Smoked paprika? Old Bay? Japanese seven spice? Celery salt? So many possibilities.

Fresh Lemon Juice

The sunflower dip has fresh lemon, ground white pepper, and a dash of tabasco. Here again is a lovely blank canvas for you to experiment with. If I had it available I would have added some freshly chopped mint. Roasted garlic or fresh scallions would make a lovely addition as well, for people who are normal and like those sorts of things (i.e. not me).

The dip is really rich and reminds me a lot of tahini (sesame seed paste) but without the bitter taste. If you want an even more pronounced lemon flavor, add the zest. This dip can also be thinned out to form a dressing, used as a sandwich spread, or as stand in for hummus.

Curried Chips with Lemon Sunflower Spread
Makes about 1 cup of spread and 4 cups of chips

For the Chips
1 Bagel
2 Pita Bread Rounds
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1/2 – 1 tsp Garam Masala, or other spice mix

For the Spread
1 Cup Roasted, Salted Sunflower Seeds (shelled)
1 Tbs Olive Oil
Zest of 1 lemon, optional
1/4 to 1/3 Cup of Lemon Juice (2-3 lemons)
1 Cup Water
1/4 – 1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Tabasco, more if desired
White Pepper
Fresh Herbs (optional, such as mint, scallions)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sliced Bagel

Slice your bagel into thin slices about 1/4 inch thick. Slice the pita bread rounds in half. Stack the halves and slice into 1 inch strips.

Spicing the Chips

Place all the bread into a large bowl and toss well with 2 Tbs of olive oil and garam masala.

Bagel and Pita Chips Before Baking

Arrange the chips in one layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with 2-3 pinches of salt. If needed, add a couple extra pinches of garam masala to any bits that need it.

Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes. Set your timer for 10 minutes and start checking them for doneness at that point. The chips are done when they are beginning to crisp and turn a lightly golden brown. Be careful not to over-bake. Remove and let cool.

Sunflower Seeds

Add the sunflower meats to a food processor and turn it on. While running, add the oil and lemon juice and zest. Slowly add in the water until a smooth, creamy dip is formed.

Lemon Sunflower Spread with White Pepper

Remove to a bowl and whisk in the salt, to taste, and the black pepper and tobasco. If needed, add more liquid to get the texture you like. Once the dip is ready, gently fold in any fresh chopped herbs you may be using.

The recipe makes a rather mild dip that would be appropriate even for kids’ palates, so feel free to bump up the spices, tobasco, and lemon juice of you want something a bit zippier!

Curried Chips with Lemon Sunflower Spread