Are you one of those people who doesn't turn on the oven when it's 95 degrees outside? This is for you. The extent of the cooking involved in this dish is pan-frying the tofu. Other than that, it's just soaking, whisking, marinating, chopping, and mixing. Oh, and eating.
See? Perfect for summer.
I've seen (and bookmarked) tons of recipes for sesame noodles, and probably an equal amount for pad thai. But somehow, none of those were quite what I wanted. So I created this instead. Kind of like sesame noodles, kind of like pad thai, and a whole lot of yum.
Here's how I did it:
Start by cooking the rice noodles according to package directions. Unlike regular pasta, rice noodles are soaked in warm or very hot water.
See how stiff they were at the beginning? When they're done, they'll look like this...
Drain those babies and set them aside so you can get to work on the tofu, which by the way, should also be drained. Then you whip up some yummy marinade and let them hang out in it.
Once they've soaked up all that deliciousness, transfer them to the skillet for a nice pan-fry that locks in the flavor. And then, of course, we drain again.
At this point, we're going to use the remaining marinade to make the mushrooms really pop. You know the drill: Marinate and drain.
While those are hanging out, go ahead and prepare the rest of the mix-ins. Don't you love how they fill out the measuring cup set perfectly?
Now we're ready for assembly. There's more (brief) soaking and draining, because it's just that much fun. But really! Don't get intimidated! None of this is hard, and you can multi-task between steps.
And then you'll have this beautiful dish to bring to the table. So worth it.
Sesame Thai Noodles
Yield: 6-8 servings
• 250 g rice noodles
• 9 tablespoon soy sauce, divided
• 6 tablespoon honey, divided
• 6 tablespoon sesame oil, divided
• 1 lemon
• 300 grams tofu, cubed and drained on paper towels
• Canola oil, for frying
• ½ cup chopped scallions
• 1 6-oz. carton mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
• 2 small carrots, julienned (to yield 1 1/3 cup)
• ¼ cup peanuts, finely chopped
1. Prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain, transfer to a large mixing bowl, and set aside. (If the noodles are ready before everything else, toss them with 1-2 teaspoons sesame oil so they don’t stick together.)
2. Meanwhile, whisk together 6 Tbsp soy sauce, 4 Tbsp honey, 4 Tbsp sesame oil, and the juice of half the lemon in a small bowl. Pour into a deep plate (pie plates work well) and place tofu cubes inside to marinate. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Turn cubes over, replace cover, and refrigerate another 15 minutes.
3. Heat 1-2 Tbsp canola oil in a non-stick skillet and carefully add marinated tofu, reserving the marinade. Fry about three minutes on each side, or until deliciously browned. (I find that frying two sides is enough.) Transfer tofu to a paper towel to drain.
4. While the tofu fries, marinate the mushrooms (covered, in the fridge) for about 15 minutes. Drain mushrooms and set aside.
5. Pour remaining marinade over drained noodles and toss. Let them sit for a few minutes and toss again. The marinade collecting at the bottom of the dish will be considerably thinned by this point. Drain the noodles (this time, don’t bother reserving the marinade) and return to the mixing bowl.
6. Whisk together the remaining 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp honey, and 2 Tbsp sesame oil. Add a splash of lemon juice from the remaining half-lemon and mix well. Pour over noodles, toss, let sit a few minutes, and toss again. Again, the marinade collected at the bottom of the bowl will be watery, so drain the noodles and then transfer them to your serving dish.
7. Add tofu, scallions, mushrooms, carrots, and peanuts and mix well to evenly distribute. Serve room temperature or cold.