The latest creation occurred quite a bit by chance. The simplicity was actually down to limited ingredients remaining in a depleted fridge and store cupboard. The result was texturally surprising with a great meld of flavours to top it off. Remarkably cheap at AUD$4 per serve, taking a leaf out of 'Save with Jamie'.
Here you go: Serves 4
1 x 250g pack of 4 slabs of extra firm tofu (Thai seasoned but patted dry) cut into wedges about 5 cm long, 1 cm wide; spray lightly with canola oil and sprinkle with salt.
3-4 Tbsp black bean and chilli mix (a variety that is quite salty and oily).
3 rings of soba noodles (about 200g).
2 small capsicum bell peppers (1 red, 1 green) or 1.5 large ones cut into wedged strips about 6 cm long, 0.5 cm.
1 large carrot cut into strips about 6 cm x 1 cm x 2 mm.
3 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
1 Thai red chilli coarsely chopped, including seeds.
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped ginger
1 small or 1/2 large brown onion cut into 1cm wide strips
Procedure [with notes]
Bring large wok to high heat and spray on a few squirts of canola oil. Add tofu and stir-fry using a after it starts to brown add 1 Tbsp of black bean-chilli mix. Continue to fry until crispy and set aside in a mid-sized metal bowl. [This puts a lot of oil into the room, so best to do this outside if possible...on a BBQ side-stove works well as they usually have high-flow gas burners.]
Start off the soba noodles boiling for 3 mins.
Add capsicum to the wok. Once fried add it to the metal bowl. [This allows most of the moisture to leave independently of the other ingredients so that they do not steam...it also allows the capsicum to fry down well themselves without steaming.]
Add onion, carrot and some more canola oil to the wok. After 1 min, add the chilli, garlic and ginger. After another minute add the rest of the black bean-chilli mix shortly followed by the contents of the metal bowl. Stir well and then allow flavours to meld while off the heat as you drain the noodles well. [Again noodles need to be drained well and then added immediately to the wok so as not to add moisture to the dish and also so as not to give them time to stick to each other.]
Add noodles and mix well while cutting down through some of the noodles to shorten their length to about half (i.e. about 10 cm). [The combination of these relatively short noodles and the wedge-shaped cuts in the veg, together with the overall dry and sticky nature of the dish makes it easy to pick up with chop sticks. The attention to texture really makes the flavour leap out in the mouth too.]
Serve in bowls, eat with chop sticks! Probably goes well with a lager but when you smell the food, that won't be high on the list of priorities.