Bring 6 cups of water to boil. In the meantime, place sunflower seeds in a clean pan over medium heat and stir constantly until browned. Add a few drops of soy sauce or tamari, stir, and remove from heat.
When water boils, add bonito flakes. Bring to a boil once more then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
Strain out bonito flakes. Add kombu, shiitake mushroom, onion, carrot, and celery to broth. Simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, covered. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions. When done, set aside.
Add oil to pan over medium heat and when it shimmers, add tofu. Season each side with soy sauce or tamari to taste, cooking each side for approximately 5 minutes or to desired crispiness.
Once broth has simmered for 15 minutes, remove kombu and mush- room. Season to taste with soy sauce or tamari and add grated ginger.
Place noodles in bowl and ladle broth over noodles.Top with fried tofu, steamed spinach or watercress (optional), toasted sunflower seeds, and scallions.
Serves 5 to 6
Courtesy of Jim, Kathy, and Ashley Lyons Putman of Blue Moon Acres Market.