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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Yakisoba-Fusion style

I made yakisoba for dinner tonight, but, it had to be at least partially cooked over a live fire.  What to do?

Well, I decided to go Fusion-style and grab a few different elements of flavor.  Tofu was crusted with a Simply Marvelous Sweet and Spicy rub crust, the bacon was made onto bacon candy, some nifty herbal work fusing pesto with Japanese herbs, and a few shiitake mushrooms and peppers.
The tofu is from a local tofu shop, I selected a firm style, as my preferred kinugoshi has a tendency to slip through the grate.  I used the lemon and satsuma skins for flavoring the soba water.  Just a little twist.  Bacon is bulk purchase from Berkeley Bowl West, I like the idea of buying bacon in bulk form, I get just what I need.

For the bacon candy, a standard amongst many BBQ enthusiasts snack recipes, I took thick cut bacon and liberally coated with a mix of Simply Marvelous Sweet and Spicy along with 5-Spice powder, cinnamon and some turbinado sugar.  This was smoked for an hour at 300F.  The tofu recieved a similar treatment with some added kosher salt. This went on with the bacon candy.
While these smoked, I prepared a pesto of mitsuba, spring onion, chives, perilla, freh garlic and a little bit of mint.  These were combined into a pesto with olive, sesame and neutral oils to create a herb oil.  This would be used for several different steps along the way.  I also fried the shallots with a light flour coating, then added the sliced Fresno peppers to the oil the shallots were fried in.  This seasoned oil was then partially drained then mixed with some herbal oil to fry the soba pancake.  Hot oil everywhere, no photos. Here is the tofu fresh off the grill and sliced.  I think this is looking good at this point.
From here it is just a matter of assembling the various elements into a finished plate.  The soba going down first, very similar to how chow mein was served when pan-fried.  Then the tofu and various aromatics and sauces were added to soak into the tofu and noodles.  Given a little time, the crusty, crunchy noodles soften slightly with the oil and liquids and the whole dish really comes together.

This dish had some pretty good punch, the borrowed elements of using fresh red peppers and raw garlic gave it some real heat on the tongue, and lips as well.  The tofu and mushrooms provided the savory counter balance to the heat along with the fatty sweetness of the bacon candy.  Each flavor distinct yet balanced, each bite changing with how the elements are combined on the fork.


  1. Bacon and tofu in one reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite movies from the 1980's, Real Genius:

    Lazlo Hollyfeld: Well then I'm happy and sad for you.

    But seriously though, the way you treated tofu here I would try it and think it would be the best tofu I've had. So far, I've only had it from our favorite Thai place here.

  2. I really liked it. The thing I am exploring more is fresh herb oils, and I am liking the punch of flavor it gives.