Zingy Vietnamese-Style Noodles With Fried Sesame Tofu

Sticky sesame tofu, noodles and a zingy dressing come together in this great recipe – but you could always swap the tofu for mushrooms, prawns, shredded chicken or fish if you prefer. Equally, drizzle the dressing on roasted cauliflower, baked squash and fried Brussels sprouts – and bear in mind the tofu works well with leftover cooked rice or quinoa. Finally, to make it completely plant-based, simply use vegan fish sauce instead.

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Serves
4
Total Time
25 Minutes
Ingredients
280g of extra-firm tofu
2 tbsp of coconut oil
1 tbsp of maple syrup
2 tbsp of mixed sesame seeds
For The Dressing
Juice of 3 limes
2 tbsp of maple syrup or coconut sugar
2 tbsp of fish sauce (vegan if you prefer)
2.5 tbsp of tamari or soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Thai chilli, deseeded and finely chopped, or 2 squirts of chilli sauce (or to taste)
For The Noodle Salad
300g of thin dried vermicelli
2 handfuls of mixed fresh herbs (such as coriander, basil and mint - see tip)
Leaves from 2 little gem lettuces
2 tbsp of cashews or peanuts
2 carrots and ½ cucumber, sliced into matchsticks
2 handfuls of finely slices radishes or cabbage
Method
Step 1
Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or place in a clean screw-top jar and shake well.
Step 2
Drain the tofu well. Chop into 2cm cubes, then pat dry in a clean tea towel. Pop into a bowl, stir in 2 tablespoons the dressing and set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
Step 3
Meanwhile, place the dried vermicelli in a large, wide, heatproof serving bowl, pour over some just-boiled water and leave for the length of time specified on the packet (usually around 5-8 minutes).
Step 4
Keep the leave of the herbs whole and finely chop the stalks (discarding any mint stalks, or use in mint tea) and tear the lettuce leaves.
Step 5
Heat up a large frying pan, add the cashews or peanuts and toast on a medium heat for 2 minutes until lightly golden, then tip onto a chopping board and roughly chop.
Step 6
Pop the pan back on the heat and melt the coconut oil. Using tongs, place the tofu pieces in the pan, spacing them out, and fry on a medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes, then turn over and cook for another 4 minutes.
Step 7
Try to leave them undisturbed as they fry so they go lightly golden and then, during the final minute of cooking, stir in the maple syrup and sesame seeds and remove from the heat.
Step 8
Drain the noodles once they are tender (test one by eating it), wipe the bowl out with a clean tea towel and then pop the noodles back in the bowl, roughly snipping with scissors so they are easier to eat.
Step 9
Drizzle over half the dressing, add the herbs and veg and toss together in the bowl. Scatter over the tofu, then sprinkle the nuts on top to finish. Serve with extra dressing on the side so that everyone can add more if they like.

Tips:

Look out for Thai basil and Vietnamese mint.

Variation: Swap the tofu for 250g of roughly chopped mushrooms and fry in the same way as the tofu. 

Extracted From Feel Good By Melissa Hemsley (EBURY PRESS, £22)

Photography by Lizzie Mayson

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