Serves 4 as a meal
1 14-oz [400 g] package extra-firm tofu
2 tbsp [30 ml] low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp [10 ml] toasted sesame oil
2 Thai chiles, seeded and finely chopped
3 stalks fresh lemongrass, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 large shallot
¼ cup [60 ml] fresh ginger, chopped
½ cup [125 ml] water
1 tbsp [15 ml] vegetable oil
2½ cups [625 ml] coconut milk (about a can and a half)
1 tbsp [15 ml] brown sugar
1 tbsp [15 ml] low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp [45 ml] fish sauce
Zest of 2 limes, very finely grated
1 cup [250 ml] water
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper
2 cups [500 ml] roughly chopped shiitake mushrooms (or any other mushroom you like)
9 oz [255 g] uncooked soba noodles
Fresh coriander, to serve
Wrap the tofu in a few paper towels and set it on a plate to drain with another plate on top. Leave it for an hour or up to six. Preheat the oven to 400°F [200°C]. Cut the tofu in ¾-inch [2-cm] cubes, spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, drizzle with the soy sauce and sesame oil and bake for 25 minutes, shaking the tofu around once in a while so it’s golden and crispy all over.
In a blender or a food processor, combine the chiles, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, shallot and water and puree until smooth.
In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. Add the lemongrass puree and cook over high heat, stirring, until most of the water has evaporated and the mixture is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and whisk in the coconut milk, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime zest and a cup of water. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
While the broth simmers, cook the soba noodles. Once cooked, drain and reserve. Add the mushrooms to the broth, along with the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper and more chile if you like it even hotter, and simmer again for 5 minutes.
To serve, divide the noodles and tofu between your serving bowls, and ladle the broth on top. Garnish with fresh coriander.