Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chinese Noodle Salad

I told you that I traveled to NC for a wedding this past weekend. I can’t help it, but every time that I fly I HAVE to purchase a new food magazine. I currently get Food Network Magazine and Everyday Food by Martha Stewart and will soon be getting Everyday with Rachael Ray (thanks, Living Social $7 deal!) delivered directly to my house. I used to get Cooking Light but for some reason I let my subscription run out. Fortunately, that meant I hadn’t read the June 2012 edition so when I was perusing the magazine selections at the airport, I just HAD to buy it. :) Don’t judge me. I flipped through the magazine reading the articles and the recipes marking the pages that I was interested in making one day.

When I got home on Sunday evening, I sat down to make my weekly meal plans and decided to plan something from the new magazine. I also took a look at the Meijer ad and saw that it was 10 for $10 (get the 11th free) week. Some of the 10 for $10 included cherry tomatoes, English cucumbers and green onions. In my fridge I had some sugar snap peas from the farmer’s market the week before. So, essentially everything was setting up perfectly for this Chinese Noodle Salad. Of course when I got to Meijer, I couldn’t find the Chinese-flat noodles that the recipe called for so I went for somen noodles which are thin Japanese wheat noodles. They worked great. Although, maybe I shoulda changed the name to Japanese Noodle Salad. Oh well.  

Now for those of you afraid of tofu, I would totally suggest trying this recipe. I used to be afraid like you. However, I find that any stir fry/saucy meal can really up the flavor of tofu, and it is certainly waaaay better than the first time I tried it from the salad bar in college (super wet and slimy with no taste whatsoever). 

Chinese Noodle Salad with Tangy Cucumbers (adapted from Cooking Light, June 2012)
4 oz package uncooked noodles (I used somen noodles, but could use udon or spaghetti or whatever you desire)
1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
2 tsp peanut oil
1/2 cup cubed firm water-packed tofu (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup drained, sliced water chestnuts
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions 
1.5 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar 
1/2 tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce 
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tsp chile paste with garlic
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Tangy cucumbers:
1/8 cup seasoned rice vinegar 
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
1 cup thinly sliced English cucumber 

For the cucumbers, whisk together vinegar, sugar and CRP. Add the cucumbers and toss to coat. Chill until ready to eat.

Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add peas during last 1 minute of cooking. Drain; rinse with cold water.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add peanut oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add tofu to pan and cook 5-10 minutes until browned, stirring frequently.

Combine noodle mixture, tofu, tomatoes, water chestnuts, and onions in a large bowl. Combine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, chile paste, salt and sesame seeds in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add vinegar mixture to noodle mixture, tossing gently to coat.

Serves 2.

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