Monday, July 14, 2008

SUMMER LUNCH SURPRISE: New Noodles

I love noodles too much. If it was up to me, I would eat noodles maybe every meal of every day, or at least two out of three meals a day.

I first saw noodles made out of tofu at Safeway a little while back, and they made me curious. I bought them in an attempt to curb the noodle eating, or at least trick myself into thinking I was eating noodles when I wasn't. But I have to say, I ate them, and I wasn't really so tricked. After I ate them, I was just left craving the real deal.

But I bought them again and I decided to try something new with these noodle fake-outs. I added them to real noodles, and I've got to say, this idea is a keeper! Eating less noodles can be better than eating no noodles, if it means that I'm not going to secretly long for a big plate of spaghetti. And they're also a good way to add some protein into a dish that may not have it already.

The tofu noodles have an al dente texture, something to bite into. They mesh well with thin rice vermicelli noodles and crisp cucumbers, for a cold noodle salad especially great on a hot summer day. This dish does well when it has time to sit in the fridge after it's made, getting it nice and cold, and allowing all of the ingredients to soak up the flavors.

Ingredients:
(for 1 medium-sized bowl of noodle salad, about 2 servings)
  • 1/3 16-ounce package of vermicelli rice noodles
  • 1 8-ounce package tofu noodles
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/3 bunch of basil
  • 2 green onions
  • 2-3 teaspoons of rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • dash of salt

What to Do:

  1. Put a small pot of water on to boil.
  2. Slice the cucumbers into thin half circles.
  3. Finely grate the carrot.
  4. Once the water is boiling, add the vermicelli noodles.
  5. Drain the tofu noodles from the water in the package.
  6. After the vermicelli has been boiling for a few minutes, add the tofu noodles, and boil for two more minutes.
  7. Drain the noodles in a fine strainer, and rinse them off with cold water.
  8. Add the noodles into a large bowl with the other ingredients.
  9. Chop the basil and the green onions into small bits.
  10. Add the rice vinegar a little bit at a time, stirring and tasting.
  11. Add the sugar and a tad of salt, and stir well.
  12. Place the bowl in the fridge for half an hour if time allows.

I included the cucumbers for their crunch, and because they are a common ingredient in salads flavored with rice vinegar. The grated carrot adds a little color, and the basil and green onions give a burst of taste. Try different combinations. This basic idea would be great with an assortment of fresh veggies as well as different fresh herbs, such as cilantro or mint. Taste the salad as you season it to make sure that the rice vinegar is not too light and not too heavy. If you taste too much vinegar, just chop up another vegetable, and add that in, or maybe add in another little dash of sugar, just not too much, or else it'll be too sweet. The sugar is there just for a subtle note of sweetness, to balance out the tang of the vinegar.

Since learning of the tofu noodles sold in the store, I have now been exposed to the fresh soy noodles sold at my farmers' market. I think fresh soy noodles can also be found at some stores in Chinatown. There is quite a difference between the fresh and the packaged; they are two different foods completely. The fresh tofu noodles are most certainly fresher, and that's always a good thing. But the packaged tofu noodles can be easier to find, and I truly do enjoy them too.

I'm glad I gave tofu noodles another shot. I now consider myself an official noodle collector, always on the lookout for the next new noodle!

3 comments:

llm said...

LOVE the photo; so glad to see that! And it looks so beautiful - your very 1st blog photo so nicely done!
Remember when I used to tell you: "you're not a vegetarian, you're a a noodletarian"!? Looks like things haven't changed much!

Clionadh said...

the word 'noodle' is very funny. I can see you saying it and it makes it funnier. I love me a noodle.

Anonymous said...

your fotos add incredible texture to this scrumpdiliumptious blog. grr baby, very grr.