And just like that, the summer holidays are over. The kids are back at school, the house is quiet, the dishes are done and I have a spare moment to myself to gather my thoughts and write up this surprisingly delicious recipe. I say surprising because well, sometimes when you are inspired by dishes that traditionally use meat as the main ingredient and fish sauce as the seasoning and you go adding in tofu and soy sauce in it's place, lets just say things don't always turn out quite as you'd hoped.
This on the other hand, totally worked. As it was coming together I was happy enough with the flavours, even the 8 year old agreed! We sat down and ate dinner and it was only after I'd polished off my plate that I realised just how much I really did love it. So, being the food blogger that I am, I plated up another portion, stepped outside in the fading light and managed to snap a few quick, completely un-styled, but totally honest and real photos of this dish so I could share the recipe with you...
You guys already know the soft spot I have for noodles, of any kind, but this saucy little number has heat, texture and a beautiful depth of flavour thanks to the fermented tofu which I decided to add at the last minute. I know I'll be making them again, soon.
Spicy tofu noodles
I actually used half this amount of chilli so my kids would eat it too, but then added some of my homemade sriracha sauce on mine when I ate it to make mine hotter! You can find fermented tofu at your local Asian grocer in small jars, often with chilli. It stores indefinitely in the fridge once opened and adds a beautiful depth of flavour to vegetarian Asian dishes. If you're hardcore like my mother-in-law, you can also just eat it as is with rice. I cooked about 1/2 a packet of thin rice noodles which served 4 (just follow the instructions on the pack), any leftovers will happily store in the fridge for a few days.
3 tablespoons olive or peanut oil
1 onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
3 large tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chilli powder
300g firm tofu, crumbled
3 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon fermented tofu* see headnotes
1 teaspoon unrefined raw sugar
cooked rice noodles, to serve
chopped roasted peanuts and finely sliced spring onion (scallion), to serve
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring, until tender and golden. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, turmeric and chilli and stir well. Cook 2-3 minutes or until the tomatoes start to break down, add 1/2 cup water and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Stir in tofu, soy sauce, fermented tofu and sugar. Add another 1/4-1/2 cup water if the mixture is looking a tad dry and season well with fine sea salt. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring well to dissolve the fermented tofu throughout the dish. Serve tofu hot or cool to room temperature and serve with cooked rice noodles, peanuts and sliced spring onions. Leftovers are just as good cold...
Inspired by a recipe for Shan Khaut Swe (Burmese spicy chicken noodles) found in the current issue of SBS Feast magazine.