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

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Tofu pad thai

I first visited Thailand in 2009; it was the first stop in a round-the-world backpacking trip after university. It opened my eyes to a completely different culture, nothing I’d ever experienced before. I loved it so much, I went back to explore more of its wonders over new year this year.

If the country’s stunning beaches and incredibly hospitable people aren’t enough to warrant a visit, then combine those things with its amazing (and very cheap) food and you’d be a fool to miss out.

Pad thai to Thai people is like a roast dinner to us Brits. It’s a staple dish and is sold almost everywhere. And it’s delicious in all its varieties. Traditionally it’s served with shrimps, but restaurants are always happy to make a vegetarian version with tofu if you ask.

This version I make is a sexed up stir fry. A cheat’s pad thai. It’s very quick and simple to make. It’s an adaptation of a traditional pad thai I saw on BBC Good Food combined with a sauce based on a recipe from one of my favourite vegetarian cookbooks at the moment, Leon Fast.

Tofu pad thai

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 courgette, sliced into half moon pieces
  • 200g Cauldron Original Tofu (this works well, but you can use other varieties)
  • 2 portions of dried medium egg noodles (I used Sainsbury’s own)
  • 150g frozen stir fry vegetables
  • 2 eggs, beaten

For the sauce

  • 2 heaped tsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp warmwater
  • 2 tsp dried ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • a few drops of rice wine
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 2

Method

  1. Firstly, pop your block of tofu on to a large plate. Put a chopping board on top of the tofu and balance a heavy frying pan on top. Leave this for 15 minutes or so to drain out as much water as possible. The firmer the tofu, the better.
  2. Put a large frying pan on a medium to high heat and drizzle the olive oil all over the pan. When the oil is hot enough to move around the pan freely when you lift it up, add the onion and fry for five minutes, until soft.
  3. Meanwhile, half-fill a saucepan with cold water and bring it to the boil. Add the stir fry vegetables to the water.
  4. When the tofu is firm enough, chop it up into 5cm cubes. When the onion is cooked, add the tofu and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Next, add the two portions of noodles to the saucepan with the vegetables and boil for 2-3 minutes.
  6. While everything else is cooking, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a tall-sided bowl and whiz them together with a hand blender, being careful not to let the liquid splurt out of the bowl (and go all over you, which has happened to me before). When you’ve smoothed out most of the peanuts in the peanut butter and the mixture is runny, give it a quick mix with a spoon and leave it to stand.
  7. Add the courgette to the frying pan with a dash of soy sauce and stir it in with the onion and tofu.
  8. Drain the stir vegetables and noodles with a colander and shake the excess water over the saucepan so you don’t lose any valuable noodles.
  9. When the courgette pieces are soft, add the noodles and vegetables to the frying pan, mixing all of the ingredients in well with each other. Do this for five minutes or so, or until everything is well mixed.
  10. Pour the sauce over the mixture in the frying pan and stir in until it coats everything.
  11. Lower the temperature to a low to medium heat, and using a wooden spatula or spoon, squash all of the mixture to one half of the pan. Pour the egg into the other half of the pan and mix it constantly until it has a runny, scrambled consistency.
  12. Mix the egg in thoroughly with the rest of the pad thai and season with salt and pepper.
  13. Serve in bowls, with a slice of lime and crushed peanuts on the side if you’re feeling fancy.

And that’s how you make a speedy pad thai.