It’s hot. Summer is clearly amazing, but when it comes to food, the heat makes you feel pressured into wanting salads, melon, and other light food. If you are anything like me though, on summery evenings you might not want to rummage your freezer for that rich pheasant soup* but you do feel like having a “proper” meal, something smoky and satisfying and perhaps a little pasta wouldn’t hurt, either?
May I present to you the perfect solution: There’s smoked tofu, umami-rich shiitake, fire roasted pasta and surprisingly mellow radishes, basil for freshness and general awesomeness going on, without it being too heavy or overpowering.
What you’ll need:
handful fire roasted pasta cooked al dente and drained (reserve half a cup of the cooking water)half a block smoked tofu, cubed
two handful shiitake mushrooms, roughly torn apart
couple of almonds
skint handful basil leaves (preferrably thai basil or “holy” basil, though regular basil will do nicely, too)
3 sliced spring onions (including the green bits)
5 radishes, cut in wedges
2 cm piece of ginger and 1 garlic clove, slivered
3/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tsp maple syrup, 2 tsp lemon juice, 2 tsp oyster sauce (start with the soy sauce and add a little of each in until you find the flavours balanced, these measurements are just what I happened to like)
Marinate the tofu, ginger and garlic in the sauce for as long as you care to wait (personally, that’s about 10 mins). Heat a little sesame oil in a big pan and add the spring onions and marinated tofu, garlic and ginger without the marinade which you’ll need later. Season well with cayenne pepper. As soon as everything starts to look a bit dry, spoon in a little of the reserved pasta cooking water. Add the almonds, radishes and shiitake, perhaps a little more oil if you need to, and don’t stir too much – you want a nice smoky flavour so you’ll need to let things brown a bit. Just stir enough to prevent anything sticking to the pan. Add spoonfuls of the marinade now, diluted with some more cooking water. When the stir fry looks done, add the basil and take the pan of the heat. Serve & enjoy!
* Yes, I actually have rich pheasant soup in my freezer. It’s homemade. Please don’t ask.