Sesame Soba Noodle Salad

I was looking for backpacking recipes in preparation for a trip to Baxter State Park last fall and found this at “Dirty Gourmet”. Here’s the original:
1 package soba noodles (3 or 4 bundles)
4 c water
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup sesame seeds (original recipe called for black but white will work too)
1 T roasted sunflower seeds (if you only have raw toast them a bit too)
1 T soy sauce
1 T rice vinegar
2 t honey
2 t toasted sesame oil
2 t Sriracha
1 block tofu, pressed and cubed
1 bunch asparagus, snapped into 1 inch pieces
1 bundle scallions, sliced thinly (reserve a little for garnish)

Start pasta water to boil.

Toast sesame seeds over medium low heat for a few minutes, tossing frequently and paying close attention to them, they burn easily. Grind sesame seeds and sunflower seeds together in the mortar and pestle until the mixture resembles sand. Unless you have a very large mortar you’ll have to do this in small batches.  Add rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and Sriracha, and blend into paste.

Heat up the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat then saute tofu cubes, until brown and crispy on the edges. Remove, set aside lower the heat a bit, add the sliced scallions to the hot oil and saute for a few minutes. Add asparagus and saute until just crisp tender.

Meanwhile add soba noodles to boiling water, and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Strain, reserving about 1/3 cup of the cooking water. Mix this water into the sesame seed paste, add to the noodles and toss gently to mix well. Plate and top each serving with the vegetables, then tofu and the reserved fresh green onions.

Serve hot or cold, with extra soy sauce and Sriracha available.

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