This salad is proof that healthy food can be outrageously delicious. The flavors are punchy, zingy, and zesty and the textures are brilliantly crunchy and crispy. It’s a party in your mouth. It helps to have a ribbon peeler to prepare the veg for this, but you can pick one up very cheaply, If you can ‘ t get hold of one, a sharp knife and little patience will do the same job.
Excerpted from BOSH! on a Budget by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby. Reprinted with permission of HarperCollins, 2022.
Vietnamese-Style Noodle Salad [Vegan]
For the Salad:
- 10 oz firm tofu
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 cucumber
- 4 scallions
- 1 romaine lettuce
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup fresh mint
- 1 fresh red chili
- 7 oz rice vermicelli noodles
- vegetable oil, for frying
For the Dressing:
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
- 4 tablespoons light soy sauce 4 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 lime
- generous 1/4 cup salted peanuts
Cook the Tofu:
- Press the tofu for at least 10 minutes using the tofu press or for at least 30 minutes placed between two clean kitchen towels with a heavy weight on top.
- Place the pressed tofu on its side and cut it lengthwise into 4 sheets. Pour oil into the large skillet until it’s 1/2 inch deep and place over medium heat. Lay the tofu sheets in the hot oil and fry on both sides until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to the plate lined with paper towels to drain. Cut the tofu sheets into matchsticks. Season with a little salt and set aside.
- Prepare the vegetables and herbs. Peel, trim, and shred the carrots into matchsticks. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, scoop out the watery seeds, and cut into matchsticks. Trim the scallions, cut them into 2-inch lengths, and finely slice. Cut the lettuce lengthwise
into quarters and cut out the white centers. Shred the leaves. Pick the herb leaves, discard the mint stems, and finely slice the cilantro stems. Trim and finely slice the chili. Cut the lime into wedges
Prepare the Peanuts:
- Put the peanuts in a dry pan and fry over medium heat until golden
Cook the Noodles:
- Place the noodles in a bowl, cover with boiling water, and leave to soak for 8 minutes. Drain and return to the mixing bowl. Cover with cold water and leave to soak for 1 minute. Drain.
Make the Dressing:
- Peel and finely grate the ginger and garlic. Add to a small bowl along with the rest of the dressing ingredients. Stir to combine
Build the Salad:
- Put the carrot, cucumber, scallion, lettuce, half the cilantro, half the mint, and three-quarters of the dressing into
a bowl and toss to coat. Divide between serving bowls. Sprinkle over the remaining herbs, the chopped red chili, and toasted peanuts.
- Drizzle over the remaining dressing. Top with the tofu matchsticks and serve immediately with lime wedges.