This perfect summer dish is sweet, chewy, crunchy, green, soft, salty, fresh, and tangy. Somehow it's both light and filling, and everybody loves it.
Soba noddles are pretty salty, so don't salt the water when you cook them.
Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a small pan over medium-low heat and sauté the scallions until wilted and fragrant, around 3 or 4 minutes. In a food processor or with a hand blender, whir together the scallions with the remaining ingredients until the dressing is thick and emulsified. Taste for salt, sugar, acid, and overall balance, and re-season as necessary.
Cook 1 10-ounce package soba noodles in boiling, unsalted water until just tender, 3 or 4 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, drain again well, and toss with half the dressing.
Heat the oil in a wide nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, cut the tofu into 12 slices. Fry the tofu, around 5 minutes per side, until it's browning and crispy-looking. Splash in the soy sauce and vinegar, and continue cooking, shaking the pan and flipping the tofu, until the liquid is evaporated and the tofu is glazed. Remove to a cutting board and cut into strips.
Heat the oil in a very small pan over medium heat and fry the almonds until golden, around 2-3 minutes. Remove to a small bowl so they don't burn in the hot pan.
SUGAR SNAP PEAS
Steam until just tender, around 3 minutes. Rinse under cold water.
Heat a tablespoon of peanut or vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add a large bunch of clean, wet boy choy (cut off the bottoms of the stems to separate the clumps into leaves) and a large pinch of salt and sauté, stirring, until the stems are just tender, around 6 or 7 minutes. If it's getting overly browned before it's tender, add a splash or two of water. Taste for salt.
Have everyone mix and match their own noodle bowl ingredients, and top with remaining dressing if desired. Serves 4-5.