RECIPE | Crispy Tofu Noodle Bowls

As part of my vegan month, my main aims are to learn how to cook with plant-based ingredients. I’ve already come up with my version of a plant-based spag bol, but next on my list was tackling tofu.

I got some great advice from my friend Jessie via the wonderful means of Instagram. And some great advice it was…

“fry [the tofu] and do not disturb for a long time in the pan so it gets crispy and flavoursome”

 

OK, I’ve got this, I thought. I bought ‘smoked, firm tofu’ as that’s what the recipe said. The recipe is in fact from a vegan cookbook I received as a Secret Santa gift from my good friend and blogger Pamela.

As far as tofu goes, I really enjoyed it. I look Jessie’s tips on board and the tofu ended up crispy and with bite. I see what she means about leaving it, it’s all about letting it get crisped up.

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The exact tofu I used is this one from Ocado (which has added almonds and sesame seeds!), I’ll definitely be ordering it again for future vegan scran! It’s actually so tasty and I really felt like I was getting a ‘meaty’ protein hit with this meal, which is unlike many others I’ve had so far this month. So tofu for the win! I can’t wait to cook with it again, maybe some teriyaki rice bowls? Mmmm.

In this recipe, it’s fried in sesame oil too, adding an extra layer of flavour to the tofu. It’s then served with this Japanese-style miso noodle soup.

I forgot to order chives, so I substituted coriander, and (alongside the splash of Japanese soy sauce and drizzle of chilli oil at the end) it really worked.

What you need

  • 175g udon noodles
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 200g firm smoked tofu, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar (I substituted for white wine vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp miso paste (I used this one from Ocado/Waitrose)
  • 2 pak choi, cut in half lengthways
  • a few handfuls of mushrooms (I used whole enoki and chestnut cut in half)
  • sea salt
  • to serve; Kikkoman Japanese soy sauce, chilli oil and chopped coriander

What to do

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the noodles. Cook for 8 minutes (or as the packet says) until tender. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again the set-aside.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the smoked tofu and fry for 5-10 minutes until deep golden on all sides (to make it crispy). The key here, as Jessie said, is to not move it too much, just leave it to crisp, then, using tongs, flip the pieces over to crisp on the other side.

While the tofu is frying, heat your wok up over a med-high heat. Add the sesame seeds an dry-fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously, until just beginning to brown. Tip the sesame seeds onto a plate and set aside.

Pour the remaining oil into the wok and add the shallots. Fry for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the rice vinegar, white vinegar and miso and tip in the tofu from the frying pan.

Boil the kettle and pour in 500ml water into the wok, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Add the pak choi and mushrooms and simmer, covered,  for 2-3 minutes.

Divide the udon noodles into two serving bowls. Then distribute the pak choi, mushrooms, tofu and miso broth into the bowls. Top with coriander, a splash of soy sauce and sprinkle with sesame the toasted sesame seeds.

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