You can make the paste a day or two a head of time, but I recommend making the soba and tofu the day you want to eat this. Also, for a bit of crunch I used watermelon radish here, but you can swap in whatever varietal you like - little coins of baby radish might be a nice alternative and potentially easier to come by.
4 scallions, thinly sliced
5 medium shallots, peeled and finely sliced
2 tablespoons grated, peeled ginger
scant 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
7 tablespoons good sunflower or olive oil
12 ounces extra-firm tofu
12 ounces dried soba noodles
1 radish, peeled, cut into matchsticks
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1 bunch of chives, minced
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
While you're waiting for the water to come up to temperature, place the scallions, shallots, and ginger in a mortar and pestle. Sprinkle with the salt, and pound until everything is quite bruised, but not paste-like. Gently heat the oil in a small saucepan until it is just hot enough that you could saute something in it. Add the scallion mixture to the oil, remove from heat, and transfer to a jar or bowl to cool.
Drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into matchsticks or 1/2-inch cubes. Cook the tofu, along with a pinch or two of salt, in a well-seasoned skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Add a tiny splash of oil if needed to prevent sticking. Toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy.
Salt the boiling water, and cook the soba noodles per package instructions. Drain, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking, and shake off as much water as possible. Toss the noodles with a bit of the oil off the top of the scallion ginger paste at this point so the noodles don't stick down the line.
Serve the soba along with the scallion-ginger paste (you can either toss it with the noodles or serve on the side), topped with radish, pine nuts, and lots of chives.
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