October 2016 Recipe Redux Challenge:
Plant Protein Power Bowls
Packed with protein, fiber and color, plant power bowls are trendy and delicious. Show us the healthy recipe that’s in your bowl.
Laughter rang out, echoing against the walls of the small room. Our silly giggles seemed a little inappropriate in this setting as I apologetically glanced over at our reserved Japanese seamstress who was trying desperately to pick all the fabrics on the floor.
The small room was lightened up by the rich fabric colors of dark reds, blues, gold, purple, mint greens, black sprawled all over the floors and dangling on the silver rails. Each one had a unique pattern of intricate blossoms, flowers, oceans, dragons – almost as if each was depicting a secret legend of its own. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a pale purple kimono from the heaping pile and picked it up. There – on the sleeves were carefully sewed-on cherry blossoms growing on dark branches that reminded me of watercolor painting of early spring in Japan that I had seen in numerous stores. Fine, white curls and twirls laced the edges of the pale flowers. I stroked the silky fabric ever so gently. It was beautiful. This was one I wanted to try on.
It felt a little awkward wearing Japanese Kimonos near the traditional Kyoto temple, but I couldn’t help but feel enchanted by the whole experience. I closed my eyes as I stood next to glistening pond, imagining myself as a Japanese Royal thousands of years ago. As my mind drifted into the creative depths of brain, I was startled at the tap on my shoulder. It was a tourist who was pointing at his camera.
“I think he wants to take a picture with us.” – my friend next to me replied.
I nodded politely as the man immediately shuffled to stand between all of us in the picture. Just as I was about to return to my world of imagination, another tourist came forward – this time with 2 young girls who looked so eager to take a picture with us.
I guess they had all mistaken us as paid entertainers who roamed through the park so tourist could take pictures with them. I smiled, somehow, I looked Japanese enough for them? I guess I wasn’t the only one enraptured by this magical tourist attraction.
We spent the next hour walking up and down the beautiful park taking pictures with every tourist who caught sight of us. All eyes were on us everywhere we went. Little girls would giggle pointing at us, older woman were just staring wandering why a bunch of students were wearing traditional kimonos. I honestly felt like I was a celebrity or a Japanese princess from one of the childhood books I had read.
Despite the magic of the experience, I doubt I would ever live wearing Kimonos and Zori slippers for more than several hours. My feet were aching. My back felt stiff from the tightly bound obi around my Kimono. My face was stiff from smiling too long. I had barely made it through the windy day without my dress falling apart in a rather distorted fashion. My friends looked wearily at me as we finally stepped out of the large bus, in our regular coats and boots, to find somewhere to eat. It had been a long day. We settled on a a rather simple fare that night of hot steaming bowl of ramen noodles, topped with soft-boiled egg, corn, seaweed, bamboo shoots, chashu pork that filled our bellies and soothed our achy bodies.
Somehow, living as royal for a day seemed rather exhausting. I was content to be back into my own, casual self, and laughing profusely with my friends at something that probably wasn’t that funny. I enjoyed the few moments of glory I had but being myself felt the most comfortable. Perhaps the comfort came from the warm bowl of broth and noodles, yet perhaps it came from the knowledge that being truly happy was more than what I was wearing, but rather who I am.Fast forward 6 years. I look down at the buckwheat noodle power bowl laid with tofu, tomatoes, avocado and sesame seeds. I couldn’t help but smile at the beautiful colors in the bowl – the bright colors resembled the racks of kimonos I had once seen. But the true magic of the power bowl was the flavour and the warmth that filled me.
I took one slurp of the noodles. The balance of sweet, savory, and umami flavor were soothing and a balm to my soul. This was exactly what I needed today. As I reflected back on what I had learnt that day – truly no beautiful dress not even an expensive kimono as the one I had worn could ever replace the inner beauty we each have inside of us.
“Confidence is the most expensive dress we wear”.
Adapted from Jet&Indigo
Ingredients -serves 4
- 16 oz Firm Tofu, sliced 1/4″ thick (approximately 16 slices)
- 1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 thai chili, deseeded (optional)
- 1″ ginger, julienned (1/4 tsp ground ginger)
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey/sugar
- 4 spring onions, 1″ pieces
- white pepper
- 3 bundles of Buckwheat Noodles
- Garnish: Sesame Seeds, Sliced Avocado, Soy Sauce, dash of Sesame Oil, Chili Paste of choice
How to Make:
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the tofu (about 5 minutes) on each side till brown/golden. You may have to do this in batches.
- Remove and set aside.
- Add sliced ginger and cherry tomatoes to the same pan and stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Add in the honey. Allow it to caramelize for 1 minute.
- Add soy sauce, vinegar, chili, dash of white pepper and half of the spring onions.
- Once the sauce starts simmering, return the tofu to the pan. Carefully, mix the tofu through the sauce. When sauce has thickened turn off the heat and set aside!
- Cook your Buckwheat Noodles according to instructions on the packet. Tip: When the water starts bubbling furiously, add in a cup of cold water. Do this about 2 times during the cooking process – this will ensure the noodles are tender and soft!
- Rinse the noodles under cold water and submerge them into a bowl of ice water to prevent clumping. When ready to serve, drain the noodles.
- NOW THE FUN PART:
- Take some of the cold buckwheat noodles.
- Top with Tofu mixture.
- Drizzle some of the tofu sauce over!
- Arrange avocado slices;
- PERSONALIZE: drizzle sesame oil, soy sauce, seaweed, Japanese 7-spice and sesame seeds.
Meat: If you would like to add some more substance to this dish, addition of a little grilled mackerel/salmon, or even strips of chashu would be delicious too!
Buckwheat Noodle: If you don’t have buckwheat noodles, gluten free spaghetti would be a great substitute too.
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Zoe & Mia
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