Asian Noodles in a Peanut Sauce

Carbs and fats. My two favourite things, brought together in one delicious marriage. I do.

This recipe is the perfect Friday night, tired-from-a-long-work-week, make-in-thirty-minutes, uber yummy dinner. Jam-packed with flavour and containing all the the essentials that go into a meal – protein, carbs and fats. I got you.

The protein: Tofu is the main protein in this dish, but can easily be subbed for any meat protein if you are not a vegetarian, like moi. Chicken would be my suggestion.

To prepare the tofu, start by pressing it. Place extra firm tofu in a folded tea towel and place something heavy on top, like a cast iron pan. Let it sit like this for about 30 minutes to help drain the extra liquid. This will help it crisp up when we pan fry it!

When it is fully pressed, toss it in some cornstarch and fry in some sesame oil on all six sides, until browned and crispy.

The carbs: The carbs in this recipe are the ones we want. Vermicelli noodles are made from rice, and the sugar snap peas and carrots lend a healthy dose of complex carbs.

I love cooking with vermicelli because it takes less than two minutes in a pot of boiling water and a little goes a long way!

As for the vegetables, I prefer the peas and carrots in this particular dish, but you should do what makes you happy. Broccoli, bok choy, red onion or brussel sprouts would also be good. Add them in raw, blanche them in some boiling water, or fry them up in some sesame oil! Keep the seasoning simple as the sauce is where the flavour will come from.

For the carrots, I like to “ribbon” them by using my vegetable peeler to cut super thin strips from one end to the other (after discarding the exterior layer). I toss these in boiling water for a minute and they become tender and you don’t get large, hard chunks of carrots in your dish!

The fats: Since the sauce has a peanut butter base, the good fats in this recipe are in the sauce. Of course I like to use my Homemade Peanut Butter. It is whisked up with soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic and some red pepper flakes – if you are living that spicy life.

It makes the perfect drizzle-able consistency to just slather those noods without hesitation or regret. Try it!

Pull it altogether in a bowl. Noodles topped with veggies, topped with tofu, topped with peanut sauce, topped with some extra crushed peanuts. Grab your chopsticks and let’s celebrate this day for ever and ever.

แซบ! (That’s “delicious” in Thai)

Asian Noodles in a Peanut Sauce

Serving size: 2

Prep time: 30 minutes (mostly for pressing the tofu)

Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 300 g extra firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • 1 large carrot, sliced or ribboned (see notes above)
  • 100 g vermicelli rice noodles
  • Chopped peanuts, for garnish
  • 1 scallion, sliced thinly, for garnish

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (about half a lime)
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • pinch of red chili flakes (optional)
  • 2-4 tbsp cold water

Instructions:

  1. Wrap the tofu in a clean tea towel and place something heavy on top to press out all of the extra liquid. Let press for about 30 minutes.
  2. While the tofu is pressing, prepare the other ingredients. Start with the sauce – fill a small cup with cold water. Add a few ice cubes, mix and set aside. Whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, lime juice, vinegar and chili flakes until combined and smooth. Remove the ice cubes from the cup and add 2-4 tablespoons of water to the sauce, one tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Set aside.
  3. Dice the tofu and toss in a bowl with cornstarch until evenly coated. Add to a hot pan with sesame oil and cook over medium-high heat, turning to brown each of the six sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. If you are ribboning your carrots, add to the pot for 1 minute and then remove with a slotted spoon. Add the vermicelli to the boiling water for about 1 minute and 45 seconds, stirring often with a fork to separate the noodles. Drain.
  5. Add the noodles to the bottom of two bowls. Top with sugar snap peas and blanched carrots (read notes above for other vegetable cooking options). Add tofu to bowl. Drizzle the sauce on top of everything and then add the crushed peanuts and scallions. Enjoy!

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