Tofu Singapore noodles

This light and nutritious noodle dish is bursting with aromatic flavours of lime, garlic and Asian spices. Crunchy tenderstem broccoli and firm tofu add great texture to silky ribbon noodles.

 

I love noodles. If I had to eat just noodles (for lunch and dinner, I like a conventional breakfast) for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t mind.

I love a strong taste of garlic. I’d say about 80% of the food I cook contains garlic. Where would we be without it? In an incomprehensible, flavourless world, that’s where. Pasta, noodles, curries, bread and dressings would all be bland without it.

I love most green veggies. Especially tenderstem broccoli. It’s fancier than the frozen or fresh regular stuff, so it’s a tasty and healthy treat to have now and again. You can taste the difference (without meaning to coin a well-known supermarket’s branding); it’s much sweeter and crunchier. Of course if you don’t have any in the fridge, you could use green beans, sugar snap peas, mangetout, or ‘normal’ broccoli of course.

These three elements combined with tarte lime, salty soy and flavourful curry powder soaked up by firm baked tofu, make for a satisfying supper inspired by the rich flavours of Canton.

This recipe is a little more complicated than a standard one pot dish as the vegetables, tofu and noodles need cooking separately, but it means each ingredient soaks up all of the lovely flavours, so it’s worth doing this way.

Ingredients

  • 2½ tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ white onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 4 tsp curry powder
  • 100g tenderstem broccoli (or alternative crunchy green vegetable)
  • 2 fresh noodle nests (I used pad thai noodles)
  • ½ pack or 200g tofu (I used Cauldron)

Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves 2

Method

  1. Firstly you need to extract the moisture from the tofu. Place the tofu on a plate and balance something heavy on top. I used a chopping board with two heavy pans balanced on top. Leave the tofu to drain for as long as you can – 15 minutes should be fine.
  2. While the tofu is draining, put the oven on to gas mark 7.
  3. When the tofu is ready, remove the heavy objects from it and tip the excess water on the plate into the sink. Chop the tofu into rectangles, around 3-4cm long.
  4. Place the tofu on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and put in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown, turning half way through.
  5. Meanwhile, finely slice the pepper and onion.
  6. Put a large non-stick pan on a medium heat and pour in 1 tbsp of sesame oil. Add the onion and pepper and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until the onion turns translucent, stirring frequently.
  7. Add the broccoli and mix in 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 2 tsp of curry powder. Fry for 3-5 minutes. Remove the mixture from the pan and put to one side. Heat a further tablespoon of sesame oil in the pan
  8. Prepare the sauce by adding the remaining soy sauce, crushed garlic, lime juice and brown sugar to a jug. Whisk together.
  9. Remove the tofu from the oven when it’s ready and turn the oven off. Carefully peel the tofu from the baking paper and add to the pan. Pour over half of the sauce you’ve just prepared, ensuring it coats the tofu. Cook for a few minutes, until it’s well marinated. Remove from the pan.
  10. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon of sesame oil to the pan and add the noodles along with the remaining 2 teaspoons of curry powder. Stir the powder in with the noodles. Cook for a couple of minutes.
  11. Return the vegetables and tofu to the pan and stir well. Pour over the remaining sauce and cook for another couple of minutes.
  12. Serve in large bowls with a side of sweet chilli sauce and chopsticks.

This recipe was inspired by Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Singapore Noodles

Aubergine and green bean jambalaya

This hearty vegan rice dish is as flavourful as it is vibrant. Soft cubes of aubergine soak up the wonderful aromas of garlic, paprika and chilli, while the green beans and pepper add a satisfying crunch.

Turn the heat up on your taste buds with this veggie variation of a Louisiana classic. It’s super healthy, simple to make and it’ll be on the dinner table in half an hour. Perfect for a mid-week meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped into small cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 aubergine, cut into small cubes
  • 150g long grain rice
  • 75g frozen or fresh green beans
  • Plenty of salt and pepper
  • Green salad to serve

Method

  1. Put a large pan on a medium heat and pour in the oil.
  2. When the oil has heated up, tip in the onion and pepper and fry for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Take the pan off the heat while you add the chilli, paprika, garlic and thyme. Combine the spices with the onion and pepper using a wooden spoon and return to the heat.
  4. Stir in the aubergine, ensuring the spice mixture covers it all. Then add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and rice. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring to combine everything.
  5. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil.
  6. Pour the green beans in, season the mixture, stir well, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir 2-3 times while it’s simmering to check the rice isn’t sticking to the pan.
  7. After 20 minutes, try a bit of the jambalaya to check the rice is cooked. Season well and leave to stand for a few minutes. Serve in bowls with fresh green salad leaves.

This recipe was inspired by Leon’s Aubergine Jambalaya.

New Year store-cupboard supper: Aubergine and broad bean curry

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas break and are feeling rested for the new year ahead.

As is only to be expected over Christmas, I’ve been eating a lot of indulgent food and having a few too many large helpings of Bailey’s on ice. I had a break from cooking while visiting family, but am excited to share more recipes with you in 2016.

As I’m sure it has for many people, my January has got off to a frugal start, especially as I’m saving to get married this year. I’m attempting to take packed lunch into work every day this month and trying to resist the temptation of eating out (though I’m doubtful on that front).

This evening I conjured up this store-cupboard supper of aubergine and broad bean curry, which I used with leftover ingredients in the fridge and cupboards. I’m really pleasantly surprised by the end result; it was delicious!  

This is a low-fat vegan curry, using lighter coconut milk. The sweetness of the coconut milk is balanced out by earthy tomatoes, forming a rich, moreish sauce. The texture of the soft aubergine slices are contrasted nicely with the firm broad beans.

I just happened to have a can of broad beans hanging around, but you could easily add an alternative pulse like butter beans, or perhaps some green beans, to retain the lovely green colour.

Serve this with brown rice and a dollop of mango chutney if you fancy and you’re in for a tasty yet healthy meal. And, it’ll be on the table within 45 minutes, so it’s achievable for a weeknight.

Ingredients

  • 1 large aubergine
  • 2 small red onions, or 1 large one
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1.5 tbsp Balti paste, or an alternative medium curry paste
  • 350g chopped tomatoes
  • 250g lighter coconut milk
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 can broad beans or 195g frozen or fresh broad beans

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes
Serves 3

Method

  1. Peel and chop each onion in half, then finely slice and dice them.
  2. Pour the oil into a wok or large frying pan and put on a medium heat.
  3. While the oil is heating through, chop off the ends of the aubergine and slice in half longways. Slice each half into fairly thin half moon pieces, around 3cm, so they’re thick enough to soak up the lovely spices, but not so thick that they’ll take a lifetime to soften.
  4. Add the onion and aubergine to the pan and cook for around 10 minutes, or until the aubergine pieces begin to turn translucent. Stir frequently.
  5. Meanwhile, put some water on to boil in a saucepan, ready to add your brown rice. I use two mugs of water to one mug of rice for two portions.
  6. When the aubergine looks translucent, stir in the garlic cloves and balti paste. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk and 100ml of water and bring to the boil, stirring everything in together.
  7. Add the ginger and coriander and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. When the water for the rice is boiling, pour in the rice, stir well and simmer for 25 minutes.
  9. When the curry has been simmering for 15 minutes, tip in the broad beans and mix in with the curry. Continue simmering for a further 10 minutes.
  10. When the curry sauce has reached a deep red colour and has thickened up, take the pan off the heat and season well. Serve alongside the brown rice.

This recipe was inspired by Nigel Slater’s aubergine curry (Guardian website).