Cooking with Tofu

June 1, 2016

Thai Noodles with Almond Butter Tofu

Thai Noodles with Almond Butter Tofu

I have never cooked with tofu, so I really appreciated that my friend Carol arranged another cooking demonstration at her house — this time her good friend Don made Thai Noodle Bowls with Almond Butter Tofu.  He found the recipe online on the Minimalist Baker website.  I have copied that recipe below for your convenience.

I am now a tofu convert. I know I will make this recipe again.  It was so easy to make!  And flavorful (not too spicy).  I could easily eat the leftovers cold for lunch at work.

Brick of tofu

Brick of tofu

You can find tofu in the refrigerator section of most grocery stores.  Don buys”extra firm” tofu.  He removes the packaging, drains any liquid, and then sets the tofu on an absorbent towel under a cutting board for about 30 minutes to remove even more moisture.  Afterwards, the tofu feels slightly spongy, but firm.  He sliced the tofu into squares of roughly 1/2-inch.



The tofu would take only 10 or 15 minutes to cook, so before moving on to that step, Don assembled the salad and tossed it with the dressing.

Don added cashews to the list of salad ingredients below

Don added cashews to the list of salad ingredients below

The dressing had just the right amount of spicy bite

The dressing had just the right amount of spicy bite

Don also mixed up the almond butter sauce and had it ready to cook with the tofu.  He likes his tofu somewhat crisply browned on the outside, so he set a cast iron pan on high and heated the sesame oil.  He lowered the heat to medium-high and then added the tofu and cornstarch.  After browning about ten minutes on each side, he added the almond butter sauce and warmed through.





During the final minutes of cooking, Don put the rice noodles to boil in a large pot of water.  They were cooked in a couple of minutes.



In less than 30 minutes, it was time to eat.  Truly delicious!


Here’s the detailed recipe so you, too, can try this at home:

Author: Minimalist Baker
Recipe type: Entrée
Cuisine: Thai, Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves: 2
8 ounces (227 g) extra firm tofu
3 Tbsp (45 ml) sesame oil, divided
2 Tbsp (32 g) salted creamy almond, cashew or peanut butter
1 Tbsp (15 ml) tamari (or soy sauce if not GF)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) lime juice
1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) maple syrup or coconut sugar
1 birds eye chili, crushed (or sub 1/4 tsp red pepper flake)
3 Tbsp (21 g) cornstarch
2 cups (244 g) thinly sliced or ribboned* carrots (~2 carrots)
1 cup (104 g) cucumber, sliced on a bias, then halved (~1 small cucumber)
optional: 1/2 cup (75 g) chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup (50 g) thinly sliced diced green onion
1/2 cup (30 g) fresh cilantro or basil, torn/chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp or 6 g)
1 fresh or dried birds eye chili, crushed (more to taste), or sub 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup, plus more to taste
2 tsp tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten free)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) lime juice
2 Tbsp (30 ml) rice vinegar (or sub white or apple cider vinegar with varied results)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) sesame oil

5 ounces (141 g) very thin rice noodles, prepared according to package directions
Start by wrapping tofu in a clean towel and setting something heavy on top (like a cast iron skillet) to press out excess moisture for 10 minutes. Set aside.
Prepare the tofu sauce in a medium mixing bowl by whisking together 1 Tbsp sesame oil, almond butter, tamari, lime juice, maple syrup, and 1 crushed chili. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more tamari for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, chili pepper for heat, or maple syrup for sweetness. Set aside.
Next, prepare rice noodles according to package instructions, then rinse with cold water, drain thoroughly, and set aside.
Prep vegetables next. Set aside.
Prepare salad dressing by adding all ingredients to a small mixing bowl (or jar) and whisking (or shaking vigorously) to combine.
Taste and adjust flavors as needed, adding more chilies for heat, tamari for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, or maple syrup for sweetness. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cut pressed tofu into small rectangles. Toss in 3-4 Tbsp cornstarch (they should be well coated) and sauté in 2 remaining Tbsp sesame oil, flipping once browned on the underside to ensure even browning – about 5 minutes total.
Add the almond butter sauce and stir gently to combine. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring gently to ensure even cooking on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside.
To assemble, divide noodles, vegetables and tofu among serving bowls. Serve with dressing. For more heat, serve with sriracha or chili garlic sauce.
Best when fresh, though leftovers keep well when stored separately in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
* If you’re looking for an alternative to tofu, steamed edamame, roasted salted cashews, Curry Spiced Cashews, or roasted salted peanuts would work well here!
* To ribbon carrots, rinse, remove outer skin with a vegetable peeler, and then make “noodle ribbons” with the vegetable peeler by running along the edge of the carrot. Each carrot should make about 10 noodles!
* Salad dressing adapted from Thai Kitchen and my Vegan Papaya Salad.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 serving (of 2) Calories: 622 Fat: 34 g Saturated fat: 4.8 g Carbohydrates: 64.1 g Sugar: 22 g Sodium: 838 mg Fiber: 5.3 g Protein: 16.5 g