Simple Asian Meals: Tofu Noodle Salad with a Spicy Tahini Dressing

Tofu

Listen to the interview.

Nina Simonds is  one of the country’s foremost authorities on Chinese cuisine. Her recent release, Simple Asian Meals: Irresistibly Satisfying and Healthy Dishes for the Busy Cook is the perfect alternative to greasy chinese take-out. The cookbook stresses not sacrificing delicious flavor for health. Its a handbook on how to make Asian cooking and/or weeknight cooking VERY accessible and do-able plus talks about the Asian health-giving properties for foods which are being proven in scientific research. Its a perfect resource for today’s home chefs looking to recreate Eastern and Western Asian dishes especially around New Year New You time when people are looking to have healthy, fresh starts.

Try this recipe from the book, compliments of Nina Simonds:

Sichuanese chefs make a spicy toasted sesame dressing for the popular classic, Dan Dan Noodles. Drawing inspiration from this dish, I’ve created a similar sauce using untoasted tahini paste, which is sold in every supermarket. The flavor is lighter, but no less appealing. Make a big batch and refrigerate so you can spontaneously prepare a salad for a quick and healthy meal.

Directions

1. Cut the tofu through the thickness in half and wrap in paper towels. Put a heavy weight such as a pot on top, and drain, changing the towels once, for about 10 minutes. Cut the pressed tofu into matchstick-sized shreds.

2. Bring a pot with three quarts of water to a boil, add the cellophane noodles and cook for about 1 minute, or until tender. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold, running water. Drain thoroughly.

3.Heat a large, non-stick frying pan, skillet, or a wok, add the olive or canola oil and heat until 375 degrees. Lay the pressed tofu slices in one layer and fry, over medium heat, until golden brown. It may take about 5-6 minutes. Turn over and fry again until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Cut the tofu lengthwise into thin slices.

4. Scoop the seeds out of the cucumber with a spoon, then grate or shred the cucumber using the shredding blade of a food processor. Using your hands, squeeze out the liquid. thickness in half and wrap in paper towels. Put a heavy weight, such as a pot, on top, and drain while preparing the other ingredients, changing the towels once.

5. Arrange the cellophane noodles in the bottom of a large serving bowl. Arrange the carrots, cucumbers, and bean sprouts in separate circles on top of the noodles, leaving a space in the middle for the fried tofu. Arrange the tofu in the center. Sprinkle the scallion greens on top.

6.Put the ingredients for the Spicy Tahini Dressing in a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and blend thoroughly. Taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary. Pour a little of the Spicy Tahini Dressing on top of the salad, and serve the remainder in a bowl on the side. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

© Copyright Nina Simonds Simple Asian Meals 2012.


Yield: 6 servings

What's Needed:

 

11/2 pounds very firm tofu squares

¾ to 4 ounces cellophane noodles, softened in boiling water for 10 minutes
2 cups shredded or grated carrots
2 tablespoons virgin olive or canola oil
2 English seedless cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise
2 cups bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
3 stalks scallions, green section only, cut into ½-inch lengths

Spicy Tahini Dressing, mixed together in a bowl:
1 cup Middle Eastern sesame tahini paste
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons rice wine or sake
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
4 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1½ teaspoons hot chili paste, or to taste
10 tablespoons water

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