This is a recipe based on the delicious, tender, sweetness of young fresh carrots, using some of my favourite Asian flavours…. naturally…!
Haven’t had the chance to do much cooking lately….because, right now, it’s all about the growing! I have a big allotment plot dedicated to vegetable growing, near the centre of town, and with a chilly UK spring finally giving way to a summer beginning with a bit of a heat wave there’s a lot to do on the growing front!
I grow carrots in a big bin to avoid carrot fly, and a couple of days ago I thinned out a big bunch of young carrots, because that way the others have a chance to get bigger! But, no worries if you don’t grow your own, because you can buy nice, young, thin carrots in the shops at this time of year…
Bar the marinading of the tofu, this is a quick meal to put together…
….here’s how it goes…
PS: The different aspects of this dish require a bit of organisation and timing to bring everything together. But not rocket science 😉
CRISPY TOFU WITH A WARM NOODLE AND SPRING VEGETABLE SALAD AND A GINGER AND TAHINI DRESSING
CRISPY TOFU: (marinade in advance)
- 200gms. extra firm tofu
- 70ml. tamari
- 30ml. mirin (sweet rice wine vinegar)
- juice 1 lime
- 30 ml. water
- 50 gms. fine maize meal (corn meal)
VEGETABLE + NOODLE SALAD:
- 1 tbs. sesame oil ( or olive oil)
- approx. 200 gms. baby carrots
- 150 gms. fine green beans
- 150 gms. fennel (bulb)
- 100gms. pak choi
- 100 ml. water
- 150 gms. noodles (I used wholewheat noodles)
GINGER AND TAHINI DRESSING:
- 60 gms. fresh ginger
- 6 tbs. tahini
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbs. sesame oil
- + tofu marinade
- 50- 100ml. water
- Thinly slice the tofu approx. 3 ml. thick.
- Lay the tofu slices out in a dish, in a single layer.
- In a jar, prepare the marinade by mixing together thoroughly: the tamari, mirin, lime juice and water.
- Pour the marinade over the tofu and leave for at least one hour, preferably 3-4 hours.
- When marinaded, remove the tofu slices from the marinade and reserve the marinade for the dressing.
SPRING VEGETABLE + NOODLE SALAD :
- Wash and trim the carrots.
- Wash and trim fine green beans.
- Wash and slice fennel bulb into thin slices about 5 cm. in length.
- Wash and chop pak choi into pieces about 2-3 cm. square.
GINGER AND TAHINI DRESSING:
- Peel the ginger and roughly chop.
- In a high-speed blender, place the ginger, tahini, lime juice, oil and the marinade from the tofu. Blend until smooth and thick.
- Add between 50-100ml. water to achieve desired consistency.
- Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
BRING EVERYTHING TOGETHER: ( timing is important here)
- Pour half the dressing into a salad bowl. Reserve the other half in a serving jug.
- On a big plate, place 50ml. fine maize meal, and then place the marinaded tofu slices in the cornmeal, turning them to coat them lightly in maize meal.
- Place a wide pan that has a tight fitting lid, on a medium-high heat.
- Add 1 tbs.oil.
- When hot, add the trimmed carrots and beans, and sauté for 5 mins. Toss them occasionally to avoid burning.
- Prepare a pan of boiling water sufficient to cook the noodles.
- Cook the noodles according to instructions.
- Then: add fennel to sautéing carrots and beans, and sauté for a further 2 mins.
- Add 100ml. water to the sautéed vegetables and cover with a tight fitting lid.
- Simmer for 3 mins.
Meanwhile, when the noodles are cooked:
- Strain the noodles and rinse thoroughly in just boiled water. (Otherwise they will be sticky).
- Allow to dry and let excessive moisture evaporate. (about 3 mins.)
- Add the warm noodles to the dressing in the salad bowl and toss in the dressing.
Back to the vegetables:
- Add the Pak Choi to the carrots/beans/fennel, and cook through for 1 min.
- Remove the vegetables from the heat, and strain.
- Allow any excess moisture to evaporate (about 2 mins.) and then add the vegetables to the salad bowl with the noodles. Loosely toss the vegetables with the noodles and the dressing.
- In a wide pan, on a medium high heat, add 2 tbs. oil.
- When hot, fry the tofu slices for about 2-3 mins. on each side.
Serve with the warm spring vegetable salad, and the rest of the ginger dressing.
You can relax now 🙂