The other night I made a noodle dish and with my own flair it came out as sort of a Thai style “Chow Fun” noodle dish. I used flat Pad Thai-like brown rice noodles, adding carrots, minced garlic, ginger and scallions, served with baked sriracha tofu, toasted sesame seeds, sliced cucumbers and a squeeze of lime. Yes, I went a little wild with ingredients.
When I’m making noodles, I love it coated in sesame sauce with lots of finely chopped garlic sticking to the strands. I want it gingery, garlicky and loaded with flavor. A beautiful bowlful of noodles satisfies my craving. I had a basket full of freshly picked limes off a local tree, so finding ways to use them was a little inspiration (beyond adding lime to sparkling water, which is obviously how I use most of these limes). Yet I can’t stop squeezing lime all over these noodles, so I go a little overboard with the lime juice in my own noodle bowl. You can add or change your own ingredients for this noodle recipe, because it’s basically a tahini sesame sauce + noodles situation.
Out of curiosity for noodle alternatives, I’ve kept a variety of noodle staples on hand in my pantry. Dinner has come together quickly with some different brands and types, such as brown rice pho noodles (Happy Pho) by Star Anise Foods, and brown rice Pad Thai noodles by Explore Cuisine. There are many gluten-free and plant-based options that have worked out quite well (though the regular Chinese egg noodles are a guilty pleasure of mine). Don’t be afraid to test out some alternative noodles with this recipe.
Here’s a simple way to make your own noodle bowl full of luscious flavor. I use brown rice noodles, but really you can use any other kind as you please. I used Explore Cuisine brown rice Pad Thai noodles for this recipe. Traditionally, chow fun noodles use the wide flat rice noodles, but we are loosely applying that name here.
- 4 ounces brown rice noodles (gluten-free)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (tamari or coco aminos)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons chili sauce or sriracha (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1-2 medium carrots, shredded
- 1/2 cucumber, sliced thin into strips
- 1/2 radish, thin slices
- 3 tbl soy sauce (tamari or coco aminos)
- 2 tbl rice vinegar
- 1 tbl sesame oil
- 1 tbl fresh grated ginger
- 6 garlic cloves, minced and caramelized
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
- water, as needed to thin the sauce
- 3 scallions, chopped or slivered
- toasted sesame seeds
- Stir the soy sauce (tamari or coco aminos), rice vinegar, maple syrup, ginger, sriracha or chili sauce and sesame oil together in a bowl. Add tofu cubes and toss lightly. Marinate at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes (while you prep the rest of the ingredients) tossing to fully coat the tofu with marinade.
- Preheat oven to 400° and prep baking sheet with parchment or foil. Arrange tofu on baking sheet and pour the remaining marinade all over the tofu. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the tofu soaks up marinade and is thoroughly baked. Drizzle more sriracha or chili on the tofu if you want extra spice.
- In a saucepan or cast iron pan, dollop a little sesame oil in and add the minced garlic. Sauté on medium-low heat until lightly golden and fragrant. Turn off flame and set aside.
- Blend all ingredients (except the caramelized garlic) in a food processor. Taste a little of the sauce and add more of anything you feel it needs more of (lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, etc.) and thin the sauce with a little water, as the tahini paste can thicken. Make sure the flavors are stronger than you’d like– the flavor mellows out once added to the noodles.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add noodles. Cook the noodles according to package directions: do not overcook. Drain into a colander and rinse with cool water. Put the noodles in a big mixing bowl. Add the sauce mixture and toss gently with tongs to coat the noodles well. Add garlic and toss again.
- Serve noodles into bowls and top with baked tofu, scallions, cucumber, toasted sesame seeds, and a few slivers of radish as garnish.
- I use brown rice noodles, but really you can use any other kind as you please. I used Explore Cuisine brown rice Pad Thai noodles for this recipe. (Traditionally, chow fun noodles use the wide flat rice noodles, but we are loosely applying that name here.)
- Note: the sauce saves in the fridge overnight if you want to have it on hand.