Sunday dinner: Noodles with tofu, spinach, peapods + chili-garlic-lime chicken

Tofu Meemaw strikes again.  Last night I made her recipe for tofu with spinach.  It’s braised in a mix of ginger, scallion, garlic, soy sauce, and vegetable broth, and then I tossed it with udon noodles.  Recipe after the jump.

Adapted from Nutritional Cooking with Tofu by Christine Y.C. Liu, MPH.


  • 1 lb of tofu, sliced (2″x 1″ x 1/2″)
  • 2 green onions, shredded
  • 2 slices of ginger root
  • 2-3 tbsp of corn or canola oil
  • 1/2 lb of fresh spinach
  • 2 t of cornstarch blended with 1/2 C of water (see this great post on cornstarch in Asian cooking on Serious Eats)
  • 2 T low sodium or regular soy sauce
  • 1/8 t pepper
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/4 t or more of sesame oil
  • 2 t low sodium instant chicken or vegetable boullion
  • 1/2 t sugar


  • Wash spinach; drain well and cut into 1″ sections.
  • Heat oil; saute the onions and ginger goot.  Add tofu and the last six ingredients (soy sauce, pepper, water, sesame oil, boullion, sugar).  bring to a boil.
  • Turn to low heat; cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add spinach; bring to a boil.
  • Add blended cornstarch and bring to a boil. Serve hot.

She says it makes 6 servings @118 calories/serving.  I say that she decides her serving sizes not based on this dish as a main course, but as part of a Chinese table with several other dishes + rice.  If you are making this for  the main dish, think 4 servings.


  • The recipe I made with spinach and tomatoes called for frying the tofu first, which gave the tofu color and a firmer texture. This recipe called for braising in a sauce, which meant the tofu got mushy and broke down.  The sauce is very good, but it didn’t override the unpleasant (to me) beany flavor of the soy.  I left most of the tofu in the bottom of my bowl when I was eating, and focused on the noodles and vegetables.
  • I added cooked udon noodles to the dish, and a good spoonful of chili garlic sauce to each bowl when I served it.
  • I chopped the ginger finely and added 2 cloves of chopped garlic and 2 dried red chilis to the wok with the green onions. This was a  good idea.
  • I liked the sauce enough that I want to make this again but with chicken, pork, or shrimp or just a bigger variety of vegetables (chinese cabbage, bean sprouts, red peppers) instead of the mushy beany tofu.

For an appetizer, I marinated a few chicken parts in the juice of a fresh lime and some chili garlic sauce and grilled it.  P. and I agreed, we should have eaten this after the tofu noodles, since they sort of kicked tofu’s beany ass. Sorry, Tofu MeeMaw.


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