Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Thai inspired tofu and noodle salad

Salads are not commonly eaten in our house. It is difficult to find ones that suit all of our tastes, given everyone's individual food aversions. When we do eat salads, they are generally served on the side but the recent few days of warm weather motivated me to want a cold meal which is highly unusual. Perhaps this craving was due to some inner guilt as the "must try more salads" pledge I made to myself before the start of summer hadn't eventuated into anything more than a thought.

After rummaging through the pantry and fridge I was inspired to make a noodle salad. I had some left over tofu to use up and discovered half a tin of red curry paste hiding in the back of the fridge. I was in the mood to play around with the ingredients that were on hand rather look up recipes so that's just what I did.

The tofu was marinated in watered down red curry paste and fried briefly. The dressing for the noodles was kept simple, lime juice, Thai thin soy sauce and crushed garlic. Thai thin soy sauce is something I purchased whilst recipe testing, it has a lighter colour and flavour even though the sodium content is higher than regular soy sauce. I used some grated purple carrots as one of the vegetables which stained the noodles slightly as well as adding colour to the salad.

The young man isn't usually interested in salads in the slightest so I was extremely pleased that he liked the look of his dinner before he sat down to eat and then proceeded to devour his bowl with compliments. The tofu was initially quite spicy to eat, stirring it through the noodles toned it down a little as some of the marinade separated from the tofu and blended in with the noodles. The recipe has been written with different serving suggestions and recommended garnishes I didn't have on hand but would love to try next time around.

Thai inspired tofu and noodle salad

250g firm tofu, drained and pressed
3 tablespoons Maesri (or other vegan) red curry paste
3-4 tablespoons water
270g packet soba noodles
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons Thai thin soy sauce (or regular soy sauce or tamari)
1 teaspoon agave nectar
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 carrot, grated
2 x purple carrots, grated
1 small red capsicum, cut into thin strips
75g baby spinach leaves, shredded
lime wedges, to serve

Recommended garnishes
roasted chopped peanuts or cashews
fresh coriander leaves and/or thai basil leaves

Cut the tofu into bite sized cubes. Mix the red curry paste with 3-4 tablespoons of water in a bowl and stir through the tofu, ensuring that all of the cubes are coated in the marinade. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Cook the soba noodles in boiling water according to the package directions. Drain in a colander, then rinse well with cold water. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl.

Whisk together the lime juice, soy sauce, agave and garlic, then pour over the noodles. Add the carrots, capsicum and spinach to the noodles and toss well to combine.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the tofu and cook for a couple of minutes on each side. Allow to cool.

Serve the noodles and vegetables in large bowls, then add the tofu cubes on top. Alternatively, stir the tofu through the noodles and vegetables prior to serving. Garnish with chopped nuts and herbs if desired and serve with a wedge of lime.


  1. I don't make many salads at home either - I'm happy to buy them out but find it hard to get excited about them for dinner and on weekends I usually want something less healthy and without much cutting and preparation work (!). However, when I do have salads, ones like this one are the sort I love. They're more exciting and substantial than typical salads, and the flavours you've included here look wonderful. Definitely a recipe for me to tuck away :)

    1. I'm glad to hear that I'm not that only one that struggles with salads. I see a lot of great looking salad recipes that interest me but I know the others won't be as keen on. Noodles are a pretty safe option as are these flavours which is why I put this one together.

  2. I love salad as a meal - E is not so keen but if he can have toast with it - even a thai noodle salad - he is usually happier! In fact I get disappointed when I find others who still think salad is a tomato hiding in a bowl of lettuce leaves! Love this idea, esp as limes were quite cheap in the supermarket today! I think adding suggested garnishes is quite reasonable if you are going to return to a recipe - I think of my blog as a recipe notebook as well as all the other purposes it serves

    1. I struggle to get my males excited about salad for dinner too, perhaps I should offer some toast on side next time! I was hoping to return to this recipe (I like to think of my blog like a recipe notebook too) but not so sure now as the man wasn't keen on this when he tried it later. At least one of them loved it!

  3. I love noodle salads! This looks so yummy.

    1. Thanks Ashley, they are a favourite type of salad for me too.