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Yasai Itame with Tofu

yasai itame
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There is nothing like a fragrant coconut and lemongrass-infused broth with rice noodles, a bunch of tasty vegetables and pan-fried tofu on a cold winter day. When you are looking for a hug in a bowl, make our plant-based Yasai Itame, to warm the heart and soul! Deliciously vegan and easy to make, Yasai Itame is best served in a ramen bowl and enjoyed with a sprinkle of chilli flakes on top!

Over the last couple of years, we have mostly spent time at home, here in North Wales. With the lockdowns, restrictions on international travel and many places being closed for the most part of these years, we weren’t able to go out and eat out much. So we were on a mission to recreate most of our favourites at home.

One of the restaurants we miss most of all is Wagamamas! My personal favourites are Yasai Pad Thai and, of course, Itame! It’s such a good dish with a perfect balance of the flavours and textures that go in it!

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yasai itame

What is Itame?

Itame is a Japanese stir-fry dish, typically served with steamed rice and Japanese pickles. The flavours of Itame include lemongrass, coconut and ginger. Of course, let’s not forget the sake which is a given in Japanese cuisine. Itame is mostly made vegetarian using up any leftover vegetables in the fridge, but meat can also be added.

Wagamama’s Itame is slightly different to any others I’ve tasted, it has a lemongrass broth to go with it and looks more like ramen, than a stir-fry. If you’re intrigued, or just like us, simply miss a good old Wagamama’s meal, let’s get cooking!

Ingredients for Yasai Itame:

  • 1 tbsp green Thai curry paste: curry pastes differ in the stregth of flavour, so you may need to experiment here with the paste that you have. Simply taste the broth after the first 10 minutes of simmering and add more paste if it needs it. We use Blue Dragon Green Thai Curry Paste. It is vegan and there’s a perfect amount in a pot for this recipe for 2.
  • 450 ml vegetable stock: make sure it’s vegan, if you’re looking for a plant-ased meal.
  • 60 g creamed coconut: This recipe requires creamed coconut. Don’t confuse it with coconut cream or coconut milk though – they have completely different textures. Creamed coconut normally comes compressed into a block shape or small (50g) sachets. We typically find this in the international food isles in the Thai or Chinese sections. Our favourite is Blue Dragon Creamed Coconut Block.
  • 2 tsp lemongrass paste: can be found in larger supermarkets. Morissons and Saisbury’s stock them in the UK.
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1/2 red chilli: alternatively substitute with 1/2 tsp of chilli flakes.
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 200 g firm tofu: we personally love Couldron Tofu.
  • 100 g pak choi: we separate the white and green parts as they cook at different speed. White parts are sliced and added to the broth first, then green pars are added at the end to wilt.
  • 1 red onion
  • 150 g beansprouts: we personally prefer fresh beansprouts versus canned ones.
  • 80 g chestnut mushrooms: most other mushrooms will work here: closed cup, shiitake or portabello.
  • 1/2 red pepper: or any other colour, but red adds to the aesthetics of the dish.
  • 100 g flat rice noodles: whilst you can use any other noodles, rice noodles are the more traditional choice.
  • 15 g fresh coriander
  • 1/2 lime 

How to Make Tofu Crispy?

Take your tofu out of the fridge and drain it long before you start cooking. If you want your tofu crispy but don;t want to roll it in cornflour (cornflour will become soggy in this recipe when added to the broth), you will need to press it first. Wrap your firm tofu in a clean tea towel and place something heavy on top: you can use a heavy pan, a chopping board with lots of cans on top or a bunch of books. Doing this ensures all extra liquid is pressed out. If you make tofu dishes a lot, there are lots of Tofu Presses out there that you may want to invest in!

How To Make Yasai Itame with Tofu?

Heat a large pan with a tbsp of vegetable oil and green curry paste for a minute until fragrant. Pour in the hot stock, add the chopped creamed coconut add the lemongrass paste and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes for the flavours to infuse.

After 10 minutes, add the spring onions (reserve some for the top), garlic and red chilli (reserve some for the top) and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

In the meantime, heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large wok or frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the tofu cubes and fry for approx 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Your tofu should be crispy on the outside and browned. Once cooked, take off the heat and set aside.

Stir-fry red onion, red pepper, whites of pak choi, mushrooms and bean sprouts for 5 minutes. Then add them to the broth alongside the greens of pak choi and coriander and turn the heat off.

Cook the rice noodles following the instructions on the packet. Drain and divide between bowls.

Pour the soup over the noodles. Top with tofu and garnish with coriander, reserved chilli and spring onions. Serve with a lime wedge!


For other Asian cuisine inspired meals, have a look at our recipes below:

yasai itame

Yasai Itame | Wagamama Style

There is nothing like a fragrant coconut and lemongrass-infused broth with rice noodles, a bunch of tasty vegetables and pan-fried tofu on a cold winter day. When you are looking for a hug in a bowl, make our plant-based Yasai Itame, to warm the heart and soul! Deliciously vegan and easy to make, Yasai Itame is best served in a ramen bowl and enjoyed with a sprinkle of chilli flakes on top!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 2 portions
Calories 581 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp green Thai curry paste
  • 450 ml vegetable stock
  • 60 g creamed coconut finely chopped
  • 2 tsp lemongrass paste
  • 4 spring onions each chopped into 4-5
  • 1/2 red chilli finely chopped
  • 1 garlic cloves minced
  • 200 g firm tofu pressed (see details above) and cubed
  • 100 g pak choi white and green parts separated, white part sliced
  • 1 red onions cut into wedges
  • 150 g beansprouts
  • 80 g chestnut mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper julienned
  • 100 g flat rice noodles
  • 15 g fresh coriander roughly chopped
  • 1/2 lime cut into 4 wedges

Instructions
 

  • Heat a large pan with a tbsp of vegetable oil and green curry paste for a minute until fragrant. Pour in the hot stock, add the chopped creamed coconut add the lemongrass paste and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes for the flavours to infuse.
  • After 10 minutes, add the spring onions (reserve some for the top), garlic and red chilli (reserve some for the top) and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large wok or frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the tofu cubes and fry for approx 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Your tofu should be crispy on the outside and browned. Once cooked, take off the heat and set aside.
  • Stir-fry red onion, red pepper, whites of pak choi, mushrooms and bean sprouts for 5 minutes. Then add them to the broth alongside the greens of pak choi and coriander and turn the heat off.
  • Cook the rice noodles following the instructions on the packet. Drain and divide between bowls.
  • Pour the soup over the noodles. Top with tofu and garnish with coriander, reserved chilli and spring onions. Serve with a lime wedge!

Nutrition

Sodium: 1058mgCalcium: 269mgVitamin C: 104mgVitamin A: 5704IUSugar: 12gFiber: 7gPotassium: 905mgCalories: 581kcalMonounsaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 19gFat: 27gProtein: 18gCarbohydrates: 73gIron: 5mg
Keyword Itame, Itame Recipe, Itame with Tofu, Japanese Itame, Plant-Based Itame, Tofu Itame Recipe, Vegan Itame, Veganuary Recipes, Veganuary Recipes with Tofu, Wagamama Itame, Yasai Itame, Yasai Itame Recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
yasai itame

10 Replies to “Yasai Itame with Tofu”

  1. 5 stars
    This was an absolute dream of a dinner! We can’t wait to make it again!

    1. Thanks for the lovely feedback, Tayler! So glad you enjoyed it 😊

  2. 5 stars
    I always order this dish at my favourite restaurant and so pleased that I can now make it at home too, just brilliant! Can’t beat crispy tofu.

    1. We have something in common, Kate! This is my go-to order too! 🥰

  3. 5 stars
    I love this bowl of nourishing, flavorful ingredients! It looks so good.

    1. Thanks Katherine. We think it tastes better than it looks 😋

  4. 5 stars
    You’ve got me craving this right now!! This is so perfect for the season! Bookmarked to make this weekend! 🙂

    1. Brilliant! Let me know what you think when you’ve had it. Really hope you l’ll enjoy it as much as we do 😀

  5. 5 stars
    I am always looking for new ways to enjoy tofu and this looks delicious.

    1. Hi Dannii! It certainly is one of our favourite ways to enjoy tofu. Hope you like it as much as we do! 😋

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