Vegetable & Tofu Chow Mein with rice noodles
If you are one of those people who say they find tofu bland and uninteresting then this could be the dish to change your mind. Chow Mein translates simply as “fried noodles” and is most commonly cooked with meat, but works deliciously well with tofu. This dish from the Circus Gardener’s Kitchen blog is very easy to make from scratch which means you know precisely what has gone into the food you are going to eat.
- 400g block of tofu
- 1 carrot cut into thin julienne strips
- 100g bean sprouts
- 250g pak choi shredded
- 6 spring onions finely sliced on the diagonal
- 4 tbsp ground nut oil
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 red chilli de-seeded & finely chopped
- 3 cm piece fresh ginger finely chopped
- 200g rice noodles
- 60ml dark soy sauce
- 60ml light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 40ml rice wine
- 40ml maple syrup
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- Cook the noodles in a large pan of boiling water according to packet instructions until just tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain again, and tip back into the pan with 1 tbsp sesame oil. Stir and set to one side.
- Gently squeeze the block of tofu to release excess water. Wrap in several layers of kitchen paper and lay the block flat between two chopping boards. Place weights on the top board and leave for 20 minutes to help extract any water.
- Make a sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup, garlic, chilli, ginger and rice wine vinegar.
- Take the pressed tofu from between the boards and carefully unwrap from the kitchen paper. Cut the block into four by slicing once lengthways and once crossways. Place each quarter on its side and cut into four thin slices. You should end up with 16 pieces each around 5cm x 4cm and a 1⁄2cm thick.
- Put the cornflour in a bowl. Roll the pieces of tofu in the cornflour so that they are lightly coated. Set aside for 30 minutes. The cornflour will draw more moisture from the tofu and also helps give it a light, crispy edge.
- Placing a wok over a high heat, add 2 tbsp of groundnut oil. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the tofu pieces to the wok. You may need to do this in two batches. Cook the tofu for 3-4 minutes per side, or until it is a light golden colour. Remove from the wok with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper and set to one side.
- Clean the wok and place back on a high heat. Add 2 tbsp groundnut oil. Once hot, add the carrot and stir fry for 2-3 minutes until tender, then add the pak choi, bean sprouts and spring onions. Stir fry for a further 3 minutes then add the noodles. Stir fry for a further 3 minutes. Finally, add the tofu and the sauce. The liquid will quickly bubble up. Stir it through the vegetables, tofu and noodles and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
Recipe from Steve Dent AKA The Circus Gardener’s Kitchen