Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chili Garlic Noodles with Tofu and Kale

This dish is so quick and easy to make, I wonder why I've never made it until this week.  There are only 5 ingredients:  bean thread noodles, store-bought chili garlic sauce, tofu, kale, and sesame oil.  It's hard to believe that these simple ingredients give way to a flavor explosion that will easily satisfy your grumbling stomach after a long work day. You can use any noodles that you have on hand, or use rice or quinoa instead. But the great thing about bean thread noodles (also known as cellophane or glass noodles) is that you just have to soak them in warm water for a few minutes and they're done. Sign me up!

Makes about 2-3 servings

1 8 oz. package of bean thread noodles (or 3 bunches of noodles that look like this)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 10 oz. package of firm tofu, cubed 
1 bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce (I used Lee Kum Kee)
Some chopped green onion, for garnish (optional)
  1. Place the noodles in a large bowl and pour enough hot water in the bowl to cover them.  Let the noodles soak for about 15 minutes.
  2. While the noodles are soaking, heat the sesame oil in a wok or frying pan over medium/high heat.
  3. Add the tofu cubes and fry until golden on all sides.
  4. Add the chili garlic sauce and the chopped kale.  Cook for a minute or so until the kale begins to wilt. Remove from heat.
  5. Using tongs, remove the noodles from the water and place them into the chili tofu mixture.  If the noodles are too long, you may have to cut them shorter using kitchen shears.
  6. Stir the noodles with the chili tofu mixture (they'll be sticky, but that's okay).  Add more chili garlic sauce if the noodles look dry (or if you want more heat!).  
  7. Garnish with chopped green onion.
That's it!  This is nothing fancy, but it comes together quickly and the results are pretty darn tasty.  Any veggies would work, but I always have kale around to save the day.  If you'd like to make the chili garlic sauce from scratch, there's a simple recipe here.  But when you're hungry after a long day at work and don't have all night to cook, try this dish.  It was quicker than waiting for take-out and much more satisfying that a bowl of cereal. :)