This sesame soba noodle stir fry with crispy tofu is the perfect easy weeknight dinner. It includes a flavorful sesame peanut sauce, crispy pan-fried tofu, and fresh tender vegetables.
To a pot, heat oil over medium-high. Flick a bit of water on the oil to see if it is hot enough. If it sizzles it is ready. Add chopped garlic. Cook for 1 minute until light golden brown. Add sesame seeds and cook for 30 seconds. until sesame seeds are light golden. Be careful not to burn the garlic, so adjust temperature as needed. Transfer oil to a bowl. Stir in chili paste and season with salt as needed. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for stir fry sauce until smooth. Adjust taste with more salt for saltiness, mirin for acidity, and maple syrup for sweetness.
Squeeze out water from tofu by wrapping in multiple paper towels and carefully pressing down. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large wok or skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, crumble in tofu. Cook for 4-5 min. until the edges of the tofu pieces start to crisp up and turn golden brown. Add sesame oil, tamari, and 1 tbsp of stir fry sauce. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until tofu has deepened in color. Transfer tofu to a bowl and set aside.
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set. aside.
To the same wok used to cook the tofu, heat 1 tsp of oil over medium high. Add vegetables and cook for 5-6 minutes. until tender, but still slightly crunchy. Add cooked noodles, tofu, and the rest of the stir fry sauce. Use chopsticks or tongs (be careful not to break the noodles with the tongs) to fully coat everything in the sauce.
Serve stir fry with chopped, toasted peanuts and a drizzle of garlic chili oil. Store leftover garlic chili oil in a air-tight jar at room temperature.
*Rice vinegar can be subbed for mirin.
*To achieve ultra crispy tofu, I recommend freezing the night before. Simply transfer your tofu to the counter and let defrost at room temp. the morning of. The tofu will achieve a spongier, firmer texture that keeps its shape much better.