Rice Noodles and Sesame Tofu Bowl

Step 1: Place rinsed and dried salad greens in a wide bowl.

Step 2: Top generously with soaked, rinsed and well-drained cold rice noodles.

Final Steps: Adorn noodles and greens with cold or warm roasted vegetables and sesame tofu. Garnish extravagantly with roasted peanuts, sliced hot green chilies, red onions or scallions and pickled carrots. Finally, drizzle over all some Vietnamese Dipping Sauce. Use remaining sauce for, well, dipping.

The Sesame Tofu can be prepared in 10 minutes and doesn't require marination. Can you believe it? Just pat dry 1 block of extra-firm tofu and slice into eight thin rectangles. Now carefully dip each slice, both sides, in a mix of 3 T. tamari or soy sauce and 1 T. dark sesame oil. The simplest way to do this, we learned from Isa Moskowitz, is to mix the tamari and oil on a large dinner plate. Pan fry the tofu slices in a lightly oiled skillet for about 5 minutes per side; keep the heat medium throughout. After 5 minutes, before flipping tofu, sprinkle the slices with 1 T. sesame seeds. It helps to press them into the tofu a bit with a spatula or your fingers. Enjoy the tofu hot, warm or cold; as an entree, a side dish or stuffed in a sandwich.

Our Vietnamese-style Pickled Carrots are a handy condiment to have in the fridge. Just a few enliven sandwiches, under-dressed salads and even plain brown rice. Peel and slice very thinly 1 lb. of carrots and 1/2 cup red onion; transfer to a mixing bowl. Sprinkle 3-4 T. sugar and just less than 1 T. salt over the vegetables. Massage the sugar and salt into the veggies until mostly absorbed. Place in a clean, quart-sized jar and cover with 1 cup water and 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar. Store in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 1 week. The pickles are best if allowed to sit for 24 hours before sampling. For a more traditional preparation of Do Chua, use half carrots and half daikon (peeled and sliced into thin batons). 

As usual, Leftovers for Lunch


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