When I am in the mood for Thai food, I make my favorite dish, Vegan Spicy Thai Noodles with Seared Tofu. In fact, I love all Thai food, but most Thai restaurants cook with a ton of oil. Despite having my favorite “go-to” Thai restaurants near my house, the best Thai is the Thai food I make at home, at least nutritionally.
HOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR THAI FOOD IS VEGAN AT A THAI RESTAURANT
Although most Thai dishes are made with fish sauce, if you are eating Thai food at a Thai restaurant, you just need to request no fish sauce or request a vegan dish. If you say “no oil,” most restaurants will accommodate your wishes. Another quick tip is to simply ask if the Thai restaurant has a vegan menu. Sometimes, there is a secret, hidden menu. One of my favorite Thai restaurants, for instance, has just such a menu, which I ask for every time I go to eat there.
WHY COOK THAI FOOD AT HOME
Not only is cooking at home a guarantee of the ingredients in your dish, its cheaper. Instead of going out, save some money, and stay in for some Vegan Spicy Thai Drunken Noodles with Seared Tofu. Even more important than cost, making Thai at home is easy and much healthier.
The rice noodles, for instance, highlight this dish, and the tofu is used as a condiment. Similarly, the fresh Thai basil and lime juice cool down the Thai chili peppers, while the sweet soy and brown sugar add a sweet element. To be honest, its the perfect marriage between sweet and spicy with a hint of savory.
HOW SPICY IS SPICY? KNOW YOUR TASTE BUDS AND ADD SLOWLY
Spicy Thai Vegan Drunken Noodles, however, are actually “drunk” with a variety of flavors and spices. As a result, these fat-free rice noodles are hearty and filling. But, if you are spice sensitive, add the spicy slowly.
Tasting while you cook, is a great way to gauge your taste buds. Remember, you can always add more spice; you can’t take it away.
TOFU PREPARATION MAKES OR BREAKS DRUNKEN NOODLES
In order to choose the best tofu for this dish, always choose extra firm tofu. In fact, the only time I choose soft tofu is when making a dressing or pie.
So, when in doubt, get extra firm tofu. Sprouted tofu, for instance, is even better than extra firm tofu, as it is already pressed and much more firm. Sometimes, though, sprouted tofu is difficult to find.
For that reason, extra firm tofu must be pressed using a tofu press.
HOW TO PRESS TOFU FOR SEARING, BAKING, GRILLING OR AIR-FRYING
First, carefully remove the tofu from the package, discarding the fluid from the package.
Then, place the tofu in the middle of the press and turn both knobs equally about four turns. I usually place the tofu press in the sink on its side, but for this visual post, I placed it on a plate to drain.
- Turn the knobs every two minutes, equally until you have the end result.
- Most people stop here….NOT YET. Keep turning until the knobs are screwed as far as they can to almost touch the end like this:
- Although I have never tried this, I decided on this press, I would measure the amount of water I got from the bottom of the plate at the end.
- The amount was 3/4 cup fluid
- Now, remove the press from the plate, and I give it another press with some paper towel for excess fluid removal.
The finished product, for instance, should be completely pressed and look similar to this picture.
Indeed, correctly pressing the tofu makes or breaks your tofu experience. Moreover, pressed tofu marinates, cooks, and tastes better.
THE MAGIC MARINADE RECIPE FOR VEGAN SPICY THIA DRUNKEN NOODLES
The goal, of course, is to make marinade or sauce that absorbs into the tofu and noodles. The tofu, marinade differs slightly from the sauce for the entire dish, so the flavors marry together in the end. As a result, marinading the tofu separately first is important.
- Mix all ingredients together and pour half the marinade into a large deep container, so you can make a single row of tofu on the bottom.
- Place a single layer of tofu on the marinade, and then pour the remaining marinade on top of the tofu.
- Seal and place in a refrigerator overnight.
Combining the sauce, and the noodles, before cooking, gives it the added absorption of the sauce. The sauce soaks into the noodles like a sponge and then cooks into the noodles. Similarly, the tofu already has its own flavors, so together, it is a marriage of flavors in your mouth.
HOW TO COOK THE TOFU FOR VEGAN SPICY THAI DRUNKEN NOODLE RECIPE
Although this recipe calls for searing the tofu in a pan, some people prefer the different texture to their cooking tofu. For that reason, there are different options if you prefer a different method.
Grilled tofu, for example, has a harder exterior and charred grill lines. Grilling tofu, despite having a few more steps, is my favorite way to cook tofu.
With this method, though, the tofu is cut into larger slabs to make grilling easier and cut into cubes after cooking.
- Preheat the grill to low
- Place a grill mat on the grill (you can also use a grill pan, or if you are careful, you can place the tofu directly on the grill.
- Cook for about 8 minutes on each side
- Remove from the grill and place back in the marinade until ready to use.
- Then, cut it into strips or cubes
AIR-FRYING TOFU FOR VEGAN SPICY THAI DRUNKEN NOODLES
Another great and fast way to cook tofu is in the air-fryer. Initially, I didn’t want an air-fryer, because I’m “old school.” But, my husband twisted my arm, and now I absolutely love my air-fryer.
- Simply follow the same pressing and marinating process.
- Set air fryer temperature at 375 degrees
- Cook 10-15 minutes, shaking the basket a couple of times through the cooking process
BAKING TOFU for VEGAN SPICY DRUNKEN NOODLES IS JUST AS EASY
In order to bake tofu, you can use either a silicone baking mat or I like to use my Copper Crisper Pan. Not only does the tofu get crispy on top, but it also cooks underneath as well.
- Simply follow the same pressing and marinating process.
- Then, preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Place cut or uncut tofu on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper
- Cook for 15 minutes
- Remove from oven and flip tofu over; cook for an additional 15 minutes.
RICE NOODLES; THE PERFECT NOODLE
In my opinion, Taste of Thai Wide Rice Noodles is the best for a multitude of recipes. More importantly, rice noodles are gluten-free, fat-free, oil-free, high in protein, fiber, zinc, and iron. As a result, I call them the perfect noodle.