Creamy Vegan Tofu Noodles
There is no need to reserve this recipe exclusively for vegans: This noodle dish will win over any crowd, regardless of dietary dispositions. Here, tofu is blended with garlic, five-spice powder and water for a creamy yet weightless sauce that wraps around each noodle. The same technique can be used to create a lush dairy-free pasta sauce (just add nutritional yeast and fresh herbs) or a ranch-like dip (blitz silken tofu with garlic, onion powder and herbs). For this recipe, be sure to use firm tofu, as it has more body and makes for a heartier sauce. The creamy noodles provide the perfect backdrop for the spicy, punchy black vinegar sauce.
- Serves: 4 persons
- ¾teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 12ounces thick Chinese wheat noodles
- 1(14-ounce) package firm tofu, broken into pieces
- 2garlic cloves, sliced
- ½teaspoon granulated sugar
- ½teaspoon five-spice powder
- ½cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus a few sprigs for serving
- 2teaspoons sesame oil
- Toasted white sesame seeds, for garnish
- 2tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar (black vinegar), or a combination of 4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar plus 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1tablespoon soy sauce
- 1tablespoon chile oil or chile crisp, such as Chiu Chow chile oil
- 1scallion, finely chopped
- 1(1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Step 1Prepare the noodles: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to package instructions until the noodles are just tender, about 6 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain well again.
Step 2As noodles cook, prepare the topping: Add vinegar, soy sauce, chile oil, scallion, ginger and 1 tablespoon water to a small bowl and stir to combine.
Step 3Place the tofu, garlic, sugar, five-spice and 3/4 teaspoon salt into a blender or food processor and blend, adding about 6 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is completely smooth and creamy. (You may need up to 12 tablespoons of water, depending on your tofu.)
Step 4Place the noodles in a large bowl and pour the tofu sauce on top. Add the cilantro and sesame oil, and toss until coated.
Step 5To serve, divide the noodles among bowls. Top with the spicy soy-vinegar sauce, sesame seeds and cilantro sprigs.