Sichuan Pepper & Crusty Tofu Stir Fry on Green Tea Soba Noodles

greentea-soba-stirfry-0141 A couple of weeks ago I dined in a Japanese restaurant in the heart of London and had my very first Zaru Soba. I was impressed by the simplicity of the dish, nothing more than chilled noodles served on a Zaru (bamboo basket) and accompanied with wasabi and a dipping sauce named Mentsuyu.

As much as I loved simplicity in my food, I felt that something was missing. Flavors, possibly.  Back home, I googled Zaru Soba, and find it among the most popular Japanese summer dishes. Summer in Japan means hot and humidity. Lack of strong flavors and chilled noodles match well with the depressed appetite we have when temperature soars during summertime.

greentea-soba-stirfry-0119 Although I haven’t yet switched the heating on, it is still terribly winter in London. No way Zaru Soba can grow on me. A stir fry with plenty of veggies and a touch of soy sauce is much more appropriate and welcomed. Since I love getting my hands on new ingredients (never heard about tapioca and nitrogen ices cream, until a few weeks ago), I stir fried the veggies with Green Tea Soba Noodles. Organic, made with real Matcha Green tea and happily purchased in Whole Foods during my last “trip” to the west side of London, to the chic High Street Kensington. 

green-tea-soba Soba means buckwheat in Japanese and also noodles made from buckwheat flour.

そば … SO-BA. I’m learning Japanese. Not sure I have told you already that I am happily taking class of Japanese language every Thursday. It will not help me cook Japanese food better but it will probably make me feel close to a different culture. After all, I still want to feel like a student that faces new challenges and has enough patience to see where all the knowledge acquired will lead to.

I’m curious by nature. I mix ingredients to experiment and see what flavor will come out of the venture. It’s not always a happy end situation. Let’s take, for examples, the first time I cooked Soba noodles. That was the day I prepared one of worst dishes on earth, I swear, the most mushy slimy noodles ever. I even failed to force myself finish the already small portion.  That was also the day I learned that Soba need to be washed in cold running water after the boil. I can definitely say that these green tea Soba noodles are tasty mostly thanks to my previous failed experiment.

sichuan-green-tea-soba-0148 What’s your favorite noodle recipe? Any “favorite disaster” in the kitchen to talk about? Oh, don’t tell me I’m the only one…

Sichuan Pepper & Tofu Green Tea Soba

Yield: Serves 2


  • 300g Tofu
  • 25g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp Sichuan Pepper, crushed in a pestle and mortar
  • 2 Pepper, 1 carrot, 3 leaves Savoy cabbage (or a pack of stir fry mix)
  • 5-8 chestnut mushrooms
  • 300g pack Soba Noodles (I used Matcha Green Tea Soba)
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Japanese Mirin (or Rice Wine)


  1. Cut the tofu into 7–8 slices (square) and pat dry with kitchen towel. Tip the flour on to a plate and season with salt. Add the tofu slices and dust with the flour.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add the tofu slices. Cook for 2–3 minutes each side, until golden, then transfer to a plate.
  3. Bring water to boil in another pan and cook the soba noodles for 2-3 mins. Drain with a colander and rinse with in a cold running water to get rid of slimy texture.
  4. Cut the pepper, carrot, savoy cabbage leave and mushrooms in slices. Add the Sichuan pepper and the mixed pepper stir fry to a pan and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the noodles and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and rice wine and cook for another minute. Divide between 4 serving bowls or plates and top with the tofu slices. Serve straight away.

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  • Reply Shashi @ February 19, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Wow – learning Japanese is no easy feat – you go girl! What an inspiration you are!
    You are the tofu queen – I love this one – your photos are making me wish I had some for lunch instead of my Cliff bar!

  • Reply Rosa February 20, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Mighty scrumptious! I love Sichuanese dishes.^and this one looks really good.



  • Reply Chris Caldwell @ World Cup of Food February 20, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Does the flavor of the green tea power through the Sichuan pepper, soy sauce, and mirin? Those are all pretty strong flavors (probably perfect for the tofu though). Looks good.

    • Reply Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ February 21, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Hi Chris, when pasta or noodles are flavored it is mostly because of the color and/or added nutrients. The taste of the incorporated ingredient is always too subtle to make a difference, I believe. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health February 20, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    I’ve been meaning to try soba noodles for so long but I’ve never seen any made with matcha! How interesting! I hope I can find them and make this soon because it truly looks delicious.

    A chef, a photographer, and a physicist all while learning to speak such a difficult language? You’re truly amazing!

    • Reply Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ February 21, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      Thanks Sarah!!! Japanese sounds cool, right? It is as hard as quantum mechanics 🙂 Ahahh no, it’s just that I have time now, no babies to take care of…

  • Reply rika@vm February 23, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    What a gorgeous bowl of soba noodles and tofu! I like that you added chestnut mushrooms & japanese mirin, mmm! Wow, Daniela, that’s awesome that you’re learning Japanese <3<3

    And these Sichuan peppers – they are very fragrant and delicious – especially in broths! My favorite noodle recipe is mostly noodle/ramen soup in a nice dark, herbal broth with loads of amazing veggies! Thank you for sharing this amazing soba recipe!

  • Reply Kiran @ February 26, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Learning a new language is always very fun!! Yay!! And this soba stir fry has my name all over it. Really 😀

  • Reply Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner February 28, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    This looks delicious! I never know how to cook with tofu and I’ve always wanted to try soba noodles so I’m super excited to try this. 🙂

  • Reply Vanessa April 23, 2014 at 7:29 am

    This looks amaaaazing! 🙂

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