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Samurai Samphire Noodles with Miso Marinated Tofu

Samphire Noodles

We were walking along the North Cornish coast path last weekend when CT spotted a massive patch of rock samphire. We didn’t want to be greedy, but it seemed too good an opportunity to miss, so we picked enough to make a meal out of. This dish of samphire noodles with marinated tofu was the result.

Rock Samphire

Rock samphire (Crithmum maritima) is not to be confused with marsh samphire (Salicornia europaea), although they are generally interchangeable in recipes. Both are edible, but rock samphire is less salty and has a superior flavour. Marsh samphire is more widely available and is the one you are most likely to be able to buy. When foraging for samphire, from now until mid summer is the best time to gather it for optimum tenderness and flavour.

Samphire Noodles

When I thought about cooking our foraged samphire, I had spaghetti in mind as I thought the green swirls would tie in well with sinuous pasta strands. When it came down to it, however, I didn’t have any spaghetti in the house. Fortuitously, I did have some soba noodles; these were a game changer and I came up with this wonderful dish of samphire noodles with marinated tofu. Once I knew I was using soba noodles, I went down the Japanese route adding miso, seaweed, sesame oil, mirin, tamari and tofu. Japan is an island archipelago just like Britain and they are both great for seafood. Unlike Britain, they have a long and honourable tradition of vegetarian cuisine with sea vegetables featuring prominently. I reckon this would give a hard working samuri warrior the necessary fire in the belly to go storm a castle and lop off a head or two.

Samphire Noodles with Miso Marinated Tofu

The samphire noodles were not only super quick to put together, but they were, oh, so good. Vegan and gluten free if you use pure buckwheat soba noodles, it makes for a pretty inclusive meal too. We were both very taken by the salty aromatic piquancy of the samphire, which CT assured me would not have been out of place on a Japanese dinner plate. We broke out a new set of Japanese chopsticks to mark the occasion. Itadakimasu.

Samphire Noodles with Marinated Tofu
Serves 3
A simple but satisfying noodle dish with a Japanese influence and flavours of the sea. Quick to make, it's nutritious, delicious, vegan and can be gluten free too.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. A large bunch of samphire leaves or about 400g - well washed.
  2. 200g soba noodles (make sure they are pure buckwheat if gluten free is required)
  3. ¼ tsp sea salt
  4. 350g firm tofu - cut into 2cm cubes (I used mori-nu silken)
  5. ½ lemon - juice and zest
  6. ½ tbsp sesame oil
Marinade
  1. ½ tsp miso paste
  2. 1 tsp mirin
  3. 1 tsp tamari (or soy sauce of choice)
  4. 1 tbsp sesame oil
  5. 1 tsp nori seaweed flakes
  6. 1 garlic clove - finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and carefully stir in the tofu cubes until all are covered. Leave for at least five minutes, but the longer the better.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the tofu over a medium heat for about 6 minutes, turning occasionally.
  3. Add half of the lemon juice and all of the zest to whatever's left of the marinade.
  4. Meanwhile, boil 1.5 litres of water and pour into a large pan. Add the soba noodles and simmer for about 4 minutes until al dante. Drain into a sieve, reserving the water and rinse briefly under a cold tap.
  5. Return the water to the pan and simmer the samphire in it for about 4 minutes or until just tender, but with a bit of a bite left.
  6. Drain and pour into a serving dish along with the soba noodles. Dress with the lemon mixture and toss, adding more tamari if desired.
  7. Top with the tofu pieces.
Notes
  1. Soba noodles are usually a mix of wheat flour and buckwheat flour, but are also available as 100% gluten free buckwheat.
  2. This makes three large portions or 4 more modest ones.
Tin and Thyme http://tinandthyme.uk/
Pasta Please BadgeI’m sending my samphire noodles with miso marinated tofu off to Pasta Please with Thinly Spread and Tinned Tomatoes.

 

 

Meat Free MondaysThis also goes to Jac at Tinned Tomatoes for Meat Free Mondays.

 

Other Japanese inspired recipes you might like or those using samphire

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Kate | The Veg Space
    26th May 2016

    That looks wonderful Choclette, such a tasty and nourishing meal. I wish I was confident enough to do more foraging for treats like your gorgeous rock samphire, but I just don’t trust myself to have identified the right thing in case its a poisonous weed instead!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th May 2016

      Thanks Kate. I’m very lucky to have a resident botanist, it really helps on the identification front 😉

  2. Leave a Reply

    Chris @thinlyspread
    26th May 2016

    Oooh, I’m jealous! I love samphire but I don’t think I’ve ever tried the rock version! Thanks for linking this super dish up for #PastaPlease, I shall be having a go at it as soon as I can find a samphire source (I guess I could substitute cabbage but it won’t be the same!)

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th May 2016

      You’ll just have to come on holiday down this way Chris 😉 Seaweed would probably be a better substitution than cabbage, but I’m sure that would work too.

  3. Leave a Reply

    Johanna @ Green Gourmet Giraffe
    26th May 2016

    I would love to know enough about vegies like samphire to forage (probably need a nice cornish beach to wander along too). If I did I would love to make this – it sounds wonderful and I guess I could try it with other greens. Thanks for including a link to my japanese curry – am sure a little samphire would work in it too!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th May 2016

      Craggy Cornish cliffs rather than beaches, so it’s actually quite unusual to come across large patches that are relatively easy to access. I was just lucky that eagle eyed CT was around to spot it. Your Japanese curry sounds very interesting.

  4. Leave a Reply

    Nadia
    26th May 2016

    Never heard of rock samphire! You really do know your plants/herbs. This dish is so my kind of meal! I love noodles, tofu and Asian flavours – yum! 😀

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th May 2016

      Sometimes I get inspired Nadia and this was one of those times. It’s CT that really knows all about it – he’s a botanist, which is really very useful 😉

  5. Leave a Reply

    Helen @ family-friends-food.com
    26th May 2016

    You’ve reminded me how much I love Japanese food! We live too far from the coast to be able to forage samphire, sadly, but hopefully I’ll be able to get some on the market 🙂

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th May 2016

      It wasn’t until I posted a picture of it on Instagram, that I realised it could be bought. Apparently some supermarkets have it, though I think that will be marsh samphire rather than rock.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th May 2016

      I know it grows in Europe Angie, but I’m not very knowledgeable about its distribution. It was indeed very tasty.

  6. Leave a Reply

    Maxine G
    26th May 2016

    That’s a brilliant idea! I may make this at the weekend, it looks so tasty

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th May 2016

      Thanks Maxine, it was really good. I just asked CT what his favourite meal has been this month and he said this one.

  7. Leave a Reply

    Cathy @ Planet Veggie
    26th May 2016

    I love your foraging tales! I’m always scared of eating stuff I’ve ‘found’ – I just made some rhubarb compote from rhubarb that grew in the garden (as a weed, not on purpose) and now I’m convinced I’ll be poisoned.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th May 2016

      Hahaha, well you are right to be careful Cathy, rhubarb leaves are poisonous. I’m lucky enough to have a resident botanist, which helps!

  8. Leave a Reply

    Jenn
    26th May 2016

    I have never heard of samphire before, but this dish looks great! I love all those little tofu squares!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th May 2016

      It grows along the coast, but I’ve no idea if it grows in the States Jenn. The tofu was delicious 🙂

  9. Leave a Reply

    Vicky
    27th May 2016

    I wish I lived in Cornwall, being near the coast and able to gather samphire FOC must be such a bonus! I love this recipe, it sounds so fresh and perfect for the season. It not only represents a fantastic example of Japanese cuisine but could also be said to represent the Cornish Coastal cuisine too.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      27th May 2016

      I know, I am lucky Vicky. I love living in Cornwall and I’m so glad to be back. Thank you and Cornish coastal cuisine is very well put 🙂

  10. Leave a Reply

    Dom
    1st June 2016

    these look lovely… I adore a nice hearty and healthy bowl of noodles. Neither The Viking or I are big fans of tofu unless it’s nice and crispy, so i’d have to ensure the oil is super-hot. lovely recipe though xx

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      1st June 2016

      I used silken tofu, which isn’t great for crispy, but if you use a good quality firm tofu, it’s not difficult to get a good texture.

  11. Leave a Reply

    Nayna Kanabar
    1st June 2016

    I have never tried Samphire before so it looks like this is on my to taste list. Your recipe looks great.

  12. Leave a Reply

    Heidi Roberts
    1st June 2016

    This looks delicious but I am not sure I would be brave enough to pick some and use it!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      2nd June 2016

      Wise rather than not brave Heidi. It’s always best to be sure when picking wild foods.

  13. Leave a Reply

    Glamorous Glutton
    2nd June 2016

    That looks fab Choclette. I often buy marsh samphire but haven’t seen the rock samphire. I bet it’s wonderful. There’s something so satisfying about foraged food. GG

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      2nd June 2016

      Yes, it somehow tastes so much better. Rock samphire is much harder to get hold of as it generally requires a bit of cliff work, but well worth it if you can get it.

  14. Leave a Reply

    Kate - gluten free alchemist
    3rd June 2016

    Foraged samphire? How lucky are you?! I’m green with envy. This sounds and looks a wonderful meal…. And the marinated tofu looks so tasty too!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      4th June 2016

      Well at least you’re going green Kate, which is the appropriate colour. We’ve not come across such a large and accessible patch of samphire in a very long time – now a top secret location 😉

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