This is a simple, full of flavour dish that will satisfy both vegans and meat-eaters. The stir-fries are a great way to use up any veg that might be going off; they provide a variety of textures as well as bulking up your plate in a colourful and healthy way! Don’t worry too much about the veg we’ve used, use what you have and in the quantities you want. The same goes for spices, we use Japanese curry cubes and chilli bean paste, but if you don’t have them just add whatever you fancy, they shouldn’t be too hard to find though.
You will need (serves two):
- 125 grams of dried Ho fun (flat rice noodles)
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 1 spring onion (chopped)
- 1 chilli (finely chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 1 carrot (grated)
- A chunk of red cabbage, grated
- A very large handful of peas, or a small glass full
- Soy sauce
- Chilli bean paste
- About an inch squares of Japanese curry cubes
- Fresh coriander (roughly chopped)
For the tofu:
- 250g tofu
- 2 tsp Sweet Chilli Sauce
- 2 tsp Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp English mustard
- 1 tsp Tomato Ketchup
- Chilli – to taste
- Salt and pepper
- 2 garlic gloves, minced
Preheat your oven to about 180 degrees celcius, then the first thing to do is to get your noodles soaking in water, this will make them less starchy and cook faster. Simply cover them in water until it’s time to cook, but for at least 20 minutes.
Next pat your tofu dry, just with kitchen paper or a clean tea towel, but until it’s all dry. Then mix all the ingredients for the marinade and taste it. Adjust it to your preference, add more of whatever you fancy and then pour it over the tofu, rubbing it all over before placing it in the fridge.
Now prepare all your veg. Chinese food is so aesthetically pleasing but also incredibly versatile in how it looks – you may want long strips of spring onion or you may want them in small rings, simply chop up whatever vegetables you’ve chosen, however you like them to look.
Place the tofu in the oven for 30 minutes. After about 15 minutes however, turn the tofu over and leave, whilst you heat up your wok on the hob. Once it is heated, gently fry off your chilli, garlic and onion, stirring over a medium heat so that they don’t burn. Stir-fries are so versatile, I like most of my veg to go in right at the last minute for texture and that extra crunch, but if you like them softer add them before the noodles.
We added the noodles next, followed by the chilli bean paste, curry and a splash of water; the water helps make a sauce as well as stopping your ingredients sticking without using too much oil, it also cooks the noodles nicely. Add the noodles and continue to stir over a medium low heat. If you need to add more water, add a little at a time, we’re not making broth so we don’t want it too wet!
You need to taste constantly, you might want to add more spices – ginger is great, but add whatever you like, really. After the tofu has been in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, turn it to grill setting and grill for a further couple of minutes, or so, on either side so that it goes nice and crispy. Once you are satisfied with its crispiness, cut it in half, put your noodles into a couple of hot bowls, and place a piece of tofu on top of each (alternatively you can mix it in with the stir fry). Then add a squeeze of lime juice and a nice handful of coriander over both bowls and you’re ready to go.
You can also add toasted nuts, cashews or peanuts are recommended. Chopsticks, knife and fork, spoon, slurp and suck, however you eat it, this is a really satisfying meal. It’s also almost always difficult to replicate exactly, all we’ve tried to give you here is a blue print for your own stir-fry. Experiment, test and most importantly – taste. This can be a great meal to impress someone with, or it can become your new favourite fast, comforting meal in the cold winter months. It’s brilliant all year round!