Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Curried Noodles with Tofu

It was an Asian-themed night in my kitchen tonight. Unfortunately, the results were not as good as I hoped (see Tasting Notes below), but I have recommendations for how I would improve this dish next time.  If you want a curry paste that is vegan, try Thai Kitchen - many of their products, including the green curry paste, specify 'vegan' on the label.

  • 6 ounces uncooked rice sticks*
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegan sugar
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons bottled ground fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon green curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 12 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 1 cup red bell pepper strips
  • 4 cups shredded napa cabbage**
  • 1 cup chopped green onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1. Place the noodles in a large bowl, and cover with hot water.  Let stand for 5 minutes, then drain.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, curry paste, and salt; set aside.

3. Heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes, and add to the skillet; saute for 10 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove the tofu from the pan.

4. Add the bell pepper to the pan and saute for 1 minute.  Add the cabbage; saute for 30 seconds.  Return the tofu to the pan, along with the noodles and the coconut milk mixture; cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in the green onions and the cilantro.

For a quick veggie side dish, I tossed together easy sesame-scented snow peas and carrots: cook 1 and 1/2 cups snow peas and 1/2 cup diagonally sliced carrot in boiling water for 30 seconds.  Drain, and toss the vegetables with 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. If you want to conserve water, use the same water from boiling the snow peas and carrots to soak the rice noodles. 

A cup of green tea rounded out the meal nicely. 

*Make sure to buy rice stick noodles, which are thin like angel hair pasta, because rice noodles also come in wider varieties about the width of linguine.  If you can't find rice sticks, try substituting angel hair pasta or vermicelli, although you'll alter the flavor of the dish slightly.

**A fun fact I learned about napa cabbage: I always thought that the term referred to the California wine region, which seemed awfully confusing since the other name for napa cabbage is Chinese cabbage.  In making this recipe, though, I learned that the name comes from the Japanese word nappa, which simply refers to the leaves of a vegetable.  To shred the napa cabbage, I recommend the shredder attachment of a food processor. 

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 and 1/4 cups), Calories 300

Tasting Notes:
As mentioned in my intro, I was disappointed in this recipe, and - believe it or not - found it incredibly bland.  Despite all the ginger and garlic in the coconut sauce, the flavor of neither came through, and it definitely needed more green curry paste.  The tofu also did not soak up any of the flavor or sauce.  Next time, I would use baked, seasoned tofu, and cut into cubes and add to the recipe.  In sum, this dish felt like a lot of effort for not a lot of flavor, but I think it has potential with significant tweaks.


1 comment:

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