I love eating meals out of bowls…there’s something about digging into a hot bowl of soup, a sizzling rice and curry bowl, and the ever popular noodle bowl. Normally when one thinks of meals in bowls, pictures of hot and steaming dishes come to mind. Well, this noodle bowl is neither hot nor steamy but perfectly cool and crisp and oh so flavorful.
Lots of fresh, colorful, and crunchy vegetables (feel free to change them up as you like), soft rice noodles, and crispy pan-fried tofu. Topped with cilantro, mint, roasted peanuts, and a delicious sweet/salty/spicy sauce…it is literally a flavor explosion in your mouth.
I think our favorite part were the roasted and salted peanuts…I believe every dish can be made better with a little sprinkle of peanutty love. And if peanuts aren’t your thing (I know a girl or two who doesn’t love them), almonds, cashews, or some toasted sesame seeds would also finish this dish perfectly.
Crispy Tofu and Rice Noodle Bowls (Adapted from Eat, Live, Run)
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 head napa cabbage, shredded
1 cucumber, halved, thinly sliced
handful of snow peas, chopped
handful of bean sprouts
rice noodles (as much or as little as you like)
handful each of chopped cilantro and mint
handful or roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
1 block of firm tofu, pressed to remove the water and sliced in triangles
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup warm water
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 tsp sirracha
2 tbsp maple syrup
For sauce, combine all ingredients together and mix well. Set aside until ready to assemble bowls.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the rice noodles and turn off the heat. Let noodles sit in hot water for about five minutes, then drain and set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Combine the cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Dip each tofu triangle in the cornstarch then place in the hot skillet. Fry triangles for about four minutes per side, or until golden brown. Once done, remove carefully and place on paper towels to drain.
To assemble noodle bowls, place a mixture of rice noodles and cabbage in the bottom of each bowl. Top with bell pepper slices, cucumber, snow peas, three tofu triangles, bean sprouts, mint, cilantro and chopped peanuts. Pour as much sauce over top as you’d like and dig in!
Of course you could use chicken, beef, or shrimp in place of the tofu but I beg of you to give this soy bean based protein cake a try. The texture when coated with cornstarch and pan-fried is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. What could be bad about that??