When I was growing up, spaghetti and meatballs were my ultimate comfort food. Things changed when I got older. For one thing, I went vegetarian. For another thing, I developed a taste for spicier food. When I discovered Korean food in my twenties, that immediately became my new ultimate comfort food.
So as you can imagine, when I came across this recipe for spicy Korean noodles and meatballs, my mind was just about blown. Of course, the original is not vegetarian, but that’s never stopped me before. I took to the kitchen and created my own version of spicy Korean noodles.
I’m all about veggie meatballs, and I’ve managed to make them out of all kinds of ingredients before. Tempeh. Beans. Quinoa. Usually, if you can make a veggie burger out of something, you can turn it into a meatball. Because I generally find that tofu works well with Asian flavors, I opted to make my meatballs out of tofu this time around, adapting this old recipe. If you’re dubious about tofu meatballs, don’t be! I was a little skeptical myself before trying them out, but this is one of those instances in which tofu really does take on the flavors of what it’s cooked with. I seasoned these tofu balls up with some ginger, garlic, soy sauce and liquid smoke, and also added walnuts for texture. They were the perfect accompaniment for these spicy noodles.
These are spicy Korean noodles, so you’ll need some gochujang for the sauce here. If gochujang is new to you, check out this ingredient spotlight post we did on it. You may need to head for Amazon or the Asian market, but if you’re a fan of spicy food it will be well worth the effort.
For the tofu meatballs:
For the noodles:
* If you're not sure how much gochujang to use, start with less, then taste-test the sauce and add a tablespoon at a time. The dish will be on the spicy side even with lesser amounts. If you want a much milder version, you can cut the gochujang with some ketchup. Adapted from The New York Times Cooking.
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