Preparation / Directions:
If you are cooking the noodles first, drain them, remove to a bowl or serving platter, and toss with 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil to prevent sticking (do not rinse in cold water as this reduces flavor).
Crumble the pressed tofu coarsely to yield 1-1/2 cups.
Parboil green soybeans till almost tender yet still firm (10 minutes for frozen). If using fresh baby corn spears, steam or parboil till tender; if canned, rinse with boiling water. Rinse green soybeans or corn in cold water and chop finely. You should have about 1/2 cup baby corn.
It is not necessary to peel or seed the hothouse (English) or Oriental cucumber. Regular cucumber should be pared and seeded, but leave a few narrow strips of skin for color and texture. Julienne finely to yield 1/2 cup.
If you are using miso, dissolve it in 1/4 cup warm water.
Put 3 tablespoons oil into a preheated pan over high. When the oil is hot, reduce heat to medium-high. Add garlic and stir-fry a few seconds to release aroma. Add pressed tofu and bean sauce or miso. Stir-fry briefly to mix. Add 1-1/2 cups water, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the boil is reached. Gradually stir in cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring, another minute or so until the consistency is like a light gravy, not too thick.
Test for salt, and add an extra tablespoon soy sauce if needed. (at this point, if you like, you can heat noodles and/or green soybeans, baby corn, and bamboo shoot by combining with the sauce until just mixed.) Add 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil. Remove from the stove.
Pour sauce over noodles, and top with garnish in separate arrangement (garnish with just the cucumber if you have added soybeans or baby corn and bamboo shoot to the sauce). Toss before serving.
Source: The Fragrant Vegetable, by Martin Sidham