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Tofu, Noodles, and Peanut Sauce

September 12, 2007

Tofu, Noodles, and Peanut Sauce

So, this whole schooling thing is proving way more time consuming than I expected. Updating twice a week? Ok, not so far. It’s actually not that the school work is time consuming. It’s that it is so draining the last thing I want to do when I come home is sit down and write about what I just barely managed to dredge up the energy to cook. Because I have been cooking, and some good stuff, too. Like the above: Tofu, udon noodles, fresh vegetables, and peanut sauce, one of my favorite things in the world.

I may have mentioned before that I have a bit of a thing for peanut butter. Like, I eat it almost everyday. This addiction extends to peanuts, peanut sauce, peanut butter cookies, pretty much anything involving the delicious flavor of that lovely legume, Arachis hypogaea. I’ve experimented with a few different peanut sauce recipes and so far the best I’ve found is from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food. It’s pretty thick, and very strongly peanut-y, but with a nice kick to it. I usually pair it with red peppers and udon noodles, and I find it’s just as delicious cold as it is hot. This sauce has definitely become a kitchen staple.

This time around I decided to add in a bit of tofu and some cucumber strips, to get a kind of hot and cold thing going on simultaneously. As it turns out, the cucumber was only a good addition once the noodles were already cold. Live and learn.

Tofu, Noodles, and Peanut Sauce

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 package of firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 package of udon noodles (you can also use regular old spaghetti, if you feel like it)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 small cucumber, cut into strips
  • scallions for garnish

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/2 c. smooth peanut butter (I use natural peanut butter, which might contribute to the thickness)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped up (I use pickled jalapeno; if you’re using fresh, remove the seeds and ribs)
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 c. warm water
  • 2 T. toasted sesame oil
  • a bit of salt and pepper

Put a big pot of water on to boil. Udon noodles only take a few minutes to cook, so get started on the tofu and sauce while the water is coming to a boil.

Tofu and noodles

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the tofu. Let it cook for about a minute or two before flipping the pieces over and cooking the other side. Try to brown them on all sides without crumbling them up too much. Once they’ve started to brown, add the red pepper strips to the skillet. Give the pan a stir so the peppers are covered in oil, and leave them alone to cook while you prepare the sauce.

This part is easy: Put everything into a blender and puree until it’s smooth. You might need to chop up the garlic a bit, depending on your blender. Mine often stay whole if I don’t chop them pretty well before throwing them in. Voila: peanut sauce.

Once the peppers have started to soften a bit, you should be able to cook your noodles. They usually take about three minutes. Obviously, if you’re using dried noodles it will take a little longer. Once the noodles are cooked, drain them and add them to the skillet with the tofu and peppers, remove the skillet from the heat, and pour the peanut sauce over the whole thing. Stir it all up well so everything is coated. Then, if you want to experiment, you can add the cucumbers. Or you can hold off on those, and add them the next day when you’re eating the cold leftovers. That is pretty much up to you. You can sprinkle some scallions on top, and if you’re really into peanuts, crush some up and add them for garnish, too.

Cukes

While this might not have been something I ate growing up, it has become serious comfort food to me over the last few years. So it was  great for dinner after my first two days of classes, when I was still battling a stupid cold and starting to realize just how busy I am really going to be. If you’re at all interested in that other part of my life, the libraries and books part, I will, I hope, be updating Words for Nerds on a more regular basis. Of course, that might just be wishful thinking.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. crystalbrooke permalink
    September 12, 2007 11:11 am

    Since when has this become a kitchen staple? I never got to enjoy it! Man, you have no idea how much I wish we weren’t separated by 5000 miles right now, because I would eat all of your leftovers!!!

  2. Mom permalink
    September 13, 2007 7:34 pm

    That sounds delicious. I’ll try it this weekend. Hope your energy level increases in order to help you keep up the grueling pace of your life these days.

  3. Gramma Jeri permalink
    September 30, 2007 7:38 pm

    Hi Laura, haven’t been on your site for a bit; hope all going well with your schooling and library work; and I am sure you are enjoying it all including the cooking. this receipe sounds delicious; I can hardly wait u ntil you are home again so you can make this for Grampa and I(you will,won’t you ????) did you get the pics I sent?? take care, love you and keep in touch.. Gramma

  4. Alex permalink
    January 29, 2008 11:57 pm

    Stumbled across this link from a friend, and this is a great recipe–thank you. I always used to enjoy cold noodles and peanut sauce on a hot day at bluegrass festivals when I was a kid. It’ll be nice to have a recipe to make to do that nowadays!

  5. josh permalink
    April 23, 2008 2:29 pm

    ahh..i totally relate to the grad-school-work-getting-in-the-way-of-relaxing and-cooking thing..haha. unlike me, it looks like it’s working out for you.

    your blog is awesome btw.

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