Baked Chili Tofu w/ Fresh Matcha Tea Noodles & Black Sesame Dressing

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This post is in partnership with DōMatcha®

It’s Monday. Meatless Monday.

I get pretty excited about my Monday’s as I do my Friday’s.  Monday’s are a new beginning.  A new week to grind, move things forward in our lives, follow up on important action items, and just continue to pursue our hopes and dreams.  For me that means getting inspired to create super-healthy, fun and inspiring recipes such as this Baked Chili Tofu & Fresh Matcha Tea Noodles w/ Black Sesame Dressing.  I actually made this Sunday and ate it while watching the 2017 Emmy’s.  Talk about fun and inspiring.  Many of my favorite shows and actors were winners last night.  Woohoo!! 

This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite food authors and food stylists, Donna Hay.  I came across this recipe on her website.  It is a wonderful website with beautiful food photos and refreshing recipes, where I always find inspiration. 

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I veered a bit, opting to make homemade green tea noodles with my new pasta machine.  I used DoMatcha’s Matcha tea, which gave the noodles a subtle, leafy flavor.  I haven’t made homemade pasta in a while and after making the noodles, I wondered why I haven’t been.  Fresh pasta is the bomb.com!  Tender, smooth and fairly quick to make (on the weekends!), you’ll be hooked and freezing for later use.

The remaining ingredients I kept the same and the result was magical.  The sweet and spicy Chili Tofu paired with the green tea noodles, vegetables and Black Sesame Dressing are what Meatless Monday’s are about.

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Baked Chili Tofu w/ Fresh Matcha Tea Noodles & Black Sesame Dressing//serves 4
Adapted from Donna Hay 

baked chili tofu
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1-16oz package firm tofu
1 cup fresh (recipe below) or packaged green tea noodles or spinach noodles
1 ½ cup baby kale (or regular kale leaves, trimmed) blanched
8 brussels sprouts, shaved and blanched
2 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
½ cup toasted, unsalted peanuts

black sesame dressing
½ cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 long red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

matcha tea noodles (adapted from Lights, Camera, Spatula)//serves 4
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon culinary matcha powder

To start, prepare your Matcha tea noodles (can be made a day ahead and refrigerated*) by placing all of the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until the dough comes together.  Now, blend until the dough begins to form a ball, stopping periodically to scrape down the edges.  Continue to blend for 15 seconds to “knead” the dough.

Take out the dough and form into a ball. (If your dough is still grainy looking, knead it with your hands until tight and glossy).  Wrap with plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour.  Cut the dough into 4 sections, roll each piece into a ball and flatten with your hands.

Next, with a pasta machine, run each piece through the machine, starting with the largest setting (7).  Fold into thirds and run it through a second time.  Run the dough through once on each setting, until the dough is very thin. (If your machine goes up to 7, it will be thin enough by 5 or 6).

Next, cut the pasta sheet in half as it will be pretty long.  Run the pasta sheet through the spaghetti cutter.  Toss cut pasta in a bit of flour.  Set aside.  Repeat with the remaining pasta dough pieces.  If you don’t plan to use all the pasta at once, freeze in small batches in a Ziploc bag for up to four weeks.  

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta for 3-4 minutes, or until “al dente.”  Fresh pasta takes little to no time to bake, so you don’t want to overcook it.  Please don’t.  You worked too hard to crank out those perfect noodles.  Be vigilant people!  Drain, but do not rinse.

For the sesame dressing, begin by placing vinegar, soy sauce, maple syrup, chili and sesame seeds in a medium bowl and mix to combine.  Set aside.

To prepare the Baked Chili Tofu, preheat the oven to 400’F.  In a small bowl, combine the sweet chili sauce, sesame oil, and orange juice.  Mix to combine.  Place the tofu on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spoon chili mixture over the tofu and bake for 10 minutes.  Open the oven and flip over the tofu (you should see a nice caramelization once you flip).  Bake for another 10 minutes to caramelize the other side.  Remove from the oven.

To assemble, place the noodles, kale, brussels sprouts and green onion in a large bowl.  Pour over a little black sesame dressing and combine. 

Divide between small serving bowls and top with the chili tofu, the remaining dressing and peanuts to serve.

*Fresh pasta should only be refrigerated for up to 18 hours.  If refrigerated for longer than this, the pasta will discolor and clump together.

Tip:  Boil your pasta right after your tofu is done and your vegetables are cut.  The warmth of the noodles will wilt the vegetables nicely.

 

Vegan Sushi Burrito

Vegan Sushi Burrito

My total new obsession!  I had so much fun making these and my little one’s got in on the action also.  Vegan Sushi Burritos are a fun, lunch on the go twist to your traditional sushi routine.   I loaded my sushi burritos with nutrient packed veggies: beets, sweet potato sticks, bok choy, shitake mushrooms and tofu teriyaki sticks.  I’ve ordered these burritos at other restaurants, but I wanted to concoct these delectable beauties in my own kitchen.  The items that you’ll need to make your burritos are nori sheets, Japanese short grain white rice (you can do brown rice or quinoa), and a sushi rolling mat.  You will also need to keep your hands wet when adding the sushi rice to the nori or you will end up with rice all over your hands.  You will want to keep a small bowl of water near you while you spread the rice.  The sushi burrito is totally customizable.  Feel free to add your favorite ingredients such as teriyaki eggplant, smoked salmon, kimchi, you name it.  I prepped all my veggies and arranged them on the cutting board so the kiddos could build their own burrito’s.  It’s a fun family project and a great healthy snack or main meal. 

Enjoy!

 

Vegan Sushi Burrito//serves 4
Adapted from Cilantro & Citronella

Rice
3 cups Japanese short grain rice
½ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Teriyaki Tofu Sticks
Half a block of extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
1-2 tablespoons oil
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons sugar
½ tablespoons ginger
1 clove garlic, grated
2 tablespoons water

Sushi burritos
4-8 nori sheets
1 large sweet potato, peeled, boiled and cut into sticks
1 medium beet, julienned
1 medium cucumber, julienned
4-5 medium sized shitake mushrooms, sliced
3-4 baby bok choy, leaves only

For the sushi rice, rinse the rice with fresh water 3-5 times until the water is clear.  Place the rice and 3 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and cover.  Alternatively, cook the rice inside a rice cooker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

While the rice is cooking, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt until dissolved.  After the rice is cooked, place the rice into a large bowl and season the rice vinegar, sugar and salt mixture.  Allow to cool.

Quick tips:   Do not scrape the rice out from the bottom of the pot.  If it comes out easily, great.  If not, don’t bother.  You want perfect looking rice for your sushi, not rice that is burned.  Also, use a wooden spoon as a metal spoon will damage the rice and react with the vinegar.

For the teriyaki tofu, combine the soy sauce, mirin, sugar, ginger and garlic in a bowl.  Set aside.  Cut the tofu into sticks and place in a Ziploc bag with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.  Shake.  Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add the oil.  Fry the tofu until they are golden brown.  Add the sauce to the pan and allow to simmer.  The tofu will start to get caramelized.  Flip tofu sticks to the other side and caramelized on both sides.  Place tofu on a plate atop paper towels.

To assemble the sushi burritos, lay one piece of nori in front of you, shiny side down on a sushi rolling mat (not a requirement, but helpful).  Keep a small bowl of water beside you to wet your fingers while gently spreading the rice over the nori.  Don’t squish or pat the rice onto the nori.  The grains will break.  Keep space at the top and bottom (about 1 cm) of the nori to allow easy rolling.

Lay down rows of tofu and the remaining fillings.  Begin rolling your sushi from the top (facing you).  Once rolled, wet the bottom of the nori to seal.  Continue with remaining sushi burritos

 

Creamy Coconut Lemongrass & Tofu Laksa

When it comes to recipes, I gather inspiration wherever inspiration finds me.  Usually, a meal I’ve ordered that I find myself shamelessly asking the waiter, “What’s this I’m tasting,” or flat out, “How’d you guys make this,” scouring cookbooks old and new, or farmer’s market finds that get those foodie gears whirring.

This Creamy Coconut Lemongrass & Tofu Laksa is inspired by a little restaurant located inside the Fairfax Farmer’s Market (Stall 122), called Singapore’s Banana Leaf.  It is a must try little gem serving swoon worthy South Asian cuisine on banana leaves. So, what is Laksa?  It is a spicy coconut based noodle soup consisting of rice noodles, chicken and fish.  Its origin is Indonesian, Malaysian and Singapore.  The first time I had Laksa was at a restaurant called Zen Grill that was located here in Los Angeles.  It is closed but I remember a rich soup with bold flavors.  At Singapore’s Banana Leaf, I get Laksa and so much more.

To make this soup, the main ingredient that you’ll have to source is the lemongrass.  I found my lemongrass at my local grocer, but if it’s not there, try a health food store or Asian grocery store. But Corynne, what if I still can’t find lemongrass?  Trust me, I don’t want to send you on a wild goose chase looking for one ingredient for a dish containing ingredients you can buy in one swoop.  So, don’t fret.  You can use lemon or lime zest as a substitution.  The lemongrass just gives it that extra flavor as if you’re eating the Laksa at a Malaysian restaurant….in Malaysia! 

Once you have all your ingredients, the rest is easy peasy.  Just stir fry all your vegetables, add your coconut milk and stock, garnish and dinner is served.  The laksa also taste great the next day as all the flavors have melded together. 

Let me know what you think!  Enjoy!

Creamy Coconut Lemongrass & Tofu Laksa//serves 2
Recipe adapted from Shanyara Leonie’s Malaysian Laksa Soup

laksa
8 ounces rice noodles or other flat noodles
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
1-inch piece fresh turmeric or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 red chili, sliced
1 lemon grass stalk, white part only, thinly sliced
1-16 oz package of firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
1-13.5 can coconut milk
2 cups vegetable stock
3 heads baby bok choy, white part trimmed
Kosher salt

garnish
Lime slices
Red chili
Cilantro
Scallions

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions.  Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, and ginger.  Cook, stirring frequently until translucent.  Increase heat, and add turmeric, chili, lemongrass and tofu. Cook and stir to coat tofu and until lemongrass starts to soften.  Add coconut milk and stock.  Bring to a simmer.  Next add bok choy.  Cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt. Garnish with lime slices, chili, cilantro, and dark-green parts of scallions.