A while back we held an Indochine Supperclub. With our focus on French cooking styles, the intersection of French and Vietnamese cooking has long held fascination for us. From Banh mi Baguettes to lemongrass and ginger creme brulees, the cuisines blend well together.
This Vietnamese noodle salad, Goi Chay, is more resoundingly Asian than European. Packed full of crunchy, shredded vegetables and fragrant herbs – regular basil,thai basil mint, coriander, it is light, fresh and clean in taste. You can if you want sub the tofu for chicken (aka Goi Ga). Low fat, gluten and dairy free, it is perfect for gourmands with a healthy intention. It is a good take-to-work lunch. You can prep the night before and allow the salad to soak up the dressing overnight. The vegetables used here are crisp and will not wilt. We adapted a recipe we found over at The Kitchn website, adding some fish sauce to the dressing (this makes it non vegan so is optional) and using chinese cabbage, and our own choice of herbs.
If you want to stir fry Tofu, you can either use it as it comes, or first crisp it up by frying it in oil. One tip we discovered in our research is that to remove any aftertaste from a packet of tofu, you can first take the block and place it in a pan of boiling water for a couple of minutes to refresh it. You do need to drain the tofu to firm it up – lots of kitchen towel and a weighted plate will help remove the excess water.
I do prefer the texture of the fried tofu over a plain block. It helps to keep the oil content down if you fry the block whole or in largeish blocks then slice it. Once the tofu is prepped, it is a simple vegetable-shredding job, soak the rice noodles and mix it together with the dressing
- 340g (12oz) firm tofu
- Vegetable oil
- 1 clove garlic, chopped finely
- 1 red chilli pepper chopped finely
- 60ml (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional - non vegan/vegetarian)
- 1 chinese cabbage, shredded
- 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
- 1 handful basil - chopped roughly
- 1 handful thai basil - chopped roughly
- 1 handful mint - chopped roughly
- 1 tablespoon coriander - chopped roughl
- 200g (7oz) packet Rice noodles (vermicelli or flat noodles) - cooked according to packet instructions
- 2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
- Take the block of tofu and place it in a pot of boiling water.
- Carefully remove it after a couple of minutes and place it on a wad of kitchen towels
- Cover the tofu with more paper towels and top with a heavy plate, to drain excess water from the tofu.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan (skillet). Fry the block of tofu till golden on the edges then cut into strips.
- Combine the garlic, chilli, lemon juice and soy sauce and the fish sauce if you wish.
- Mix the shredded vegetables, tofu and chopped herbs with the dressing in a large bowl.
- Leave in the refrigerator for at least a couple an hour (or even overnight) to let the marinade soak through.
- To serve, plate a portion of noodles on each dish, top with the salad and add some roasted peanuts as a topping.
I am adding this to Karen at Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking with Herbs Linky – for obvious herbacious reasons!