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Noodles with Spicy Tofu and Peanut Sesame Sauce
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything.
I often add a vegetable (usually broccoli) to this recipe, which I roast in the oven with a drizzle of peanut oil, salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar and red pepper flakes, while I’m baking my tofu. The sauce also works well as a dip for roasted or steamed veggies. Make a batch of sauce ahead – it keeps for about a week in the fridge.
12 ounces fresh egg noodles, or any dried noodles, such as spaghetti
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup tahini or natural peanut butter (I like a combination of both)
1 tablespoon sugar (or honey)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice or wine vinegar
Hot sesame oil, chili-garlic sauce, or other hot sauce to taste
Scallions, chopped sweet peppers, peanuts, or sesame seeds to garnish
1) Cook the noodles or rice as per directions and proceed with recipe. Refrigerate if you want the dish cold.
2) Beat together the tahini/peanut butter mixture, sugar (I use honey and you could use agave nectar or maple syrup as well), soy sauce, and vinegar. Add a little hot sauce and the sesame oil; taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Thin the sauce with hot water, so that it is the consistency of heavy cream. I like to add chopped peanuts to the mixture at this point.
3) Toss together the noodles and baked tofu (see recipe below) or toss with the tofu alone, or toss over steamed veggies.
This might make too much sauce for your meal. Start with a small amount and save what you don’t need in the fridge.
Now, for some protein. I learned this recipe from a good friend out in Tacoma, Washington. It’s a great way to eat tofu with great texture but without adding fat or having it stick to the pan.
Spicy Baked Tofu
1 package of firm or extra-firm tofu
about 3 tablespoons of soy sauce or a combination of soy sauce and Braggs Aminos
dash of chili oil
1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger
1) Preheat oven to 350
2) Press water out of tofu block and cut into 1/2 inch or 1 inch squares.
3) Put in shallow dish and pour marinade over it. Marinate for anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours. I never have a few hours, so 15 minutes is usually fine.
4) Spread evening on baking tray. I use a Silpat. It’s one of the best things in my kitchen. Don’t have one? Run to the store. Right. Now.
5) Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning once. If you like your tofu softer, bake for less time. Firmer, more.
6) Combine with peanut sauce. (see above)
Once you get the basic idea, both of these recipes have endless variations. You might find this peanut sauce too salty or too thin; adjust it as you go; add some more peanut butter, or a little bit less soy sauce.
Serve immediately. Or chill. Or eat half and take the rest to work for lunch. You get the picture.