Mongolian Tofu with Noodles
This recipe is very adaptable — feel free to add bamboo shoots or baby corn and to replace the tofu with beef or pork.
INGREDIENTS | SERVES 2 to 3
- 4 ounces dried rice vermicelli
- ¼ cup water
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- ½ teaspoon chile paste, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1½ carrots, cut into ½-inch slices
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 2 blocks pressed tofu (about 7 ounces), drained and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
Fill a bowl with enough boiling water to cover the noodles. Soak the noodles in the hot water for about 20 minutes or until they are softened. Drain thoroughly. Cut the noodles crosswise into three sections.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the water, hoisin sauce, rice wine or sherry, and the chile paste.
Heat a wok or skillet over medium-high heat until it is nearly smoking and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Stir-fry for 10 seconds, then add the carrots and ginger. Stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the green pepper. Stir-fry for 1 more minute or until the carrots have turned a darker orange and the vegetables are crisp but still tender.
Add the tofu to the wok or skillet. Stir-fry the tofu for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring and moving it around the pan, until it begins to firm up and turn brown. Splash 1 tablespoon of soy sauce over the tofu while stir-frying. Add the rice noodles, stirring to mix them in with the tofu.
Add the sauce and bring to a boil. Stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes to mix the sauce in with the tofu and noodles. Serve hot.
How Tofu Is Made
For centuries, tofu has been made through a complex process that has a lot in common with making cheese. After soaking, soybeans are ground and combined with water to make soymilk. A coagulant is added, which curdles the soymilk, producing the soybean curd that is called tofu.