Pan-Seared Tofu over Black Rice Noodles
A good sear on a protein is a chef’s best friend. Be sure to get your skillet nice and hot before adding the tofu. It's key to the browning process that the tofu is patted dry with paper towels and seasoned well with salt and pepper. When you’re making the sauce, be sure to bring it to a simmer; this will activate the cornstarch and thicken the mixture. Most importantly, kick back and enjoy this sweet and spicy treat.
- 1 package extra firm tofu
- 10 ounces baby bok choy
- Fresh cilantro
- Fresh ginger
- 1 shallot
- 8 ounces black rice noodles
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil*
- 2 scallions
- 1 tablespoon Sambal
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cashews
- *not included
Drain and dry the tofu as much as possible by patting it and letting it sit on paper towels. Split the bok choy in half and cut the V-shaped cores out. Break apart the leaves and rinse clean. Rinse and dry the cilantro. Peel and mince the ginger and shallot.
In a large pot, bring 6 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Once boiling, add noodles and cook uncovered for 6 minutes. Cook, checking every minute until noodles are tender. Once done, strain into a colander and run quickly under cool water. Return to the pot and toss with 1/2 teaspoon of oil to prevent sticking. Cover and set aside.
Divide the brick of tofu into 4 blocks, and then halve each piece to end up with 8 small squares. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Bunch the bok choy leaves together and roughly chop them into medium bite-sized pieces.
The oil should be hot now in the skillet. Carefully add all 8 squares of tofu using a spoon or spatula; the oil will snap a little bit while it cooks off excess water. Cook covered for 4 to 6 minutes, checking to see if the bottoms have turned golden brown. If the tofu sticks, give it a little more time before flipping. When tofu is ready, flip to other side and add ginger, shallots, and bok choy to the pan and cover. Cook until the bok choy is bright green, about 4 to 6 minutes.
In a medium bowl, mix together the sambal, soy sauce, brown sugar, 1/2 cup water, and cornstarch until smooth. Add the sauce to the skillet with tofu and cook until the sauce just starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Add the cashews. When it’s ready, the sauce should just coat the back of a spoon. Bunch up your cilantro and roughly chop it into small pieces. Rinse, trim, and slice the scallion.
Put half of the noodles into a bowl. Sprinkle with some cilantro, scallions, and half of the tofu and bok choy. Top with the sauce and serve hot.