Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

You will need:

For the salad:
1 package of rice vermicelli (the skinny clustered kind, but the spaghetti-like ones work, too)
1 package of firm tofu, drained and cubed
2 cups of chopped cabbage
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh herbs (mint and basil work well, but you can use cilantro, parsley, or all 4, I think mint is essential)
                                                                                        2 shredded carrots
                                                                                       1 cup mung bean sprouts
                                                                                        1/2 package of pea shoots

                                                                                    4 scallions
                                                                                    4 tablespoons chopped peanuts

                                                                                    For the sauce:
                                                                                    6 tablespoons soy sauce
                                                                                    2 cloves of garlic, pressed
                                                                                    1 lime, squeezed
                                                                                    8 tablespoons water

Start frying the tofu in a large pan in canola oil (about 3-4 tablespoons). Cover the pan and set on medium to medium-high heat. Meanwhile boil water for noodles. They don't take long to cook and when in the pan you do have to stir with a fork frequently to get them apart. Check on the tofu, turn as much of it as possible to brown the other side, press down to release liquids. Cover and let it cook.
Chop the herbs and shred your carrots, toss them in a large bowl with the cabbage, pea shoots and mung beans. Check the tofu. You might want to turn it again.
Whisk together the soy sauce, lime juice, water and garlic. Set it aside. The noodles are probably done. So is the tofu. Drain the noodles, rinse them in cold water and take the tofu off the heat.

Divide the noodles onto plates or bowls (leave some aside, you will have extra noodles. Add generous heaps of the vegetable mixture to the side, or on top. Add tofu, which should be crispy and brown on most sides.
Top with chopped scallion and chopped peanuts, drizzle with dressing and eat.

You can mix the noodles and sauce all together, if you prefer. Some great substitutions: sliced cucumber instead of carrot (or with), lettuce instead of cabbage, add some sesame seeds to dressing, or chili sauce to spice it up.

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