Life with food — the moving spiritual memoir Recipe for Joy

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Gyathuk Ngopa (Himalayan Noodle Stir-Fry)

serves 4-6

Nearly everything in this dish can be varied and adapted to taste or available ingredients. The only exception I’d say is to be careful with the amount of ginger because it can be overpowering. Likewise, don’t substitute anything in that has a really strong flavor. The main flavor in this dish, umami, is subtle. It comes primarily from the mix of mushroom and soy sauce; nutritional yeast is an old trick to add “umami” flavor to meatless dishes and umami is also in asian cabbage. So this dish is basically an umami overload, which is why it’s so yummy.


Peanut or a flavorless cooking oil (do not use olive oil)
1/2 – 1 lb thin noodles (thin spaghetti or yakisoba noodles are best, but any noodles will work) — use less for vegetables to be dominant, more for a more filling pasta dish
1/2 lb firm tofu, pressed, then cut in cubes or triangles (or 1/2 lb chicken cut in small strips)
6oz shitake, crimini or white mushrooms, sliced very thin
1 medium to large onion, sliced very thin (or scallions or spring onions)
2+ garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-2T fresh ginger, finely chopped
1/2 t turmeric
1/4 t ground Szechuan pepper or black pepper
1/4 head of napa cabbage or 4 baby bok choy, shredded (or better yet, use a mixture of the two)
1-2 carrots, sliced thinly on the diagonal
1-2 handfuls of baby spinach
1-2T Soy sauce (if possible, use strongly flavored high quality soy sauce; this is the main flavoring)
1/2-1 c mushroom stock (you can use chicken stock but mushroom is better) — use less to just coat food, more to have broth
2t nutritional yeast (optional)


1. Press tofu.

2. Cook pasta al dente. (If using spaghetti, break in half or thirds when adding to water so strands are several inches long.) After draining, rinse with cold water, toss with a little
oil and set aside.

3. Slice mushrooms and onion thin.

4. Slice carrots thin on diagonal.

5. Mince garlic and ginger.

6. Shred cabbage or bok choy.

7. Drain tofu. For triangles, cut lengthwise in four then each piece in half diagonally lengthwise, then cut into triangles.


1. In a large pan, heat oil over medium high heat, add mushrooms and sear for 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, onion, turmeric and pepper. Saute a few more minutes and move to

2. In the same or a different pan, heat oil and sear tofu for 1 minute each side. Move to bowl and drain.

3. Saute carrots and cabbage for 2 minutes or more til soft but not mushy.

4. Return mushroom mix and tofu to pan with vegetables and add cooked noodles.

5. Add stock and soy sauce and simmer for no more than a couple of minutes.

6. Toss nutritional yeast into the liquid, stir, and cook for another few minutes.

7. Remove from heat, stir in baby spinach and serve.

VARIATION – a little less healthy but a little more yummy

1. In large flat pan, heat oil over medium low heat and add 1/4 of the cooked noodles in a layer.

2. When crisp and brown on bottom, flip frying noodles and cook other side.

3. Remove and drain crisped noodles.

4. Either place this disk on the plate or chop into chunks and scatter then serve over it.

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About Phil Fox Rose

Phil Fox Rose is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn, New York. He is the editor of Paraclete Press; coordinator of Contemplative Outreach of New York, helping promote centering prayer, which has been his contemplative practice for nearly 20 years. Raised atheist by ex-Mormons, Phil has journeyed through Quakerism, deep ecology, Buddhism and Catholicism. Now he's a congregant, presider, cook and leadership team chair at St. Lydia's, an awesome dinner church in Brooklyn, NY, and spends as much time in nature as possible. Phil has been a political party leader, videographer, tech journalist, punk roadie, software designer, sheepherder, stockbroker and downtempo radio DJ. A common thread is the process of learning about stuff, figuring it out and then sharing that understanding with others. Follow Phil by RSS feed, email, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.