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Curried Noodles with Crispy Tofu & Winter Vegetables

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If you love curry, but think you need to head out to a restaurant to enjoy the flavorful favorite, think again. You can make this easy, gluten-free dinner with an Asian flare at any time.

Ingredients

Noodles:

12 ounces (340 g) brown rice spaghetti such as these (or other noodles of your choice)

Tofu and Marinade:

⅓ cup (80 ml) rice vinegar

¼ cup (60 ml) tamari

2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, such as sunflower

1-2 teaspoons (more or less, to taste) Vietnamese chili garlic sauce, or sriracha, plus more for serving

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 pound firm or extra firm tofu

To finish the tofu:

½ cup (60 g) cornstarch

2 teaspoons curry powder (such as Spice Society)

1½ teaspoons granulated garlic (such as Spice Society)

1½ teaspoons fine sea salt

2-4 tablespoons (30-60 ml) vegetable oil, such as sunflower

To finish the noodles:

3 tablespoons (45 ml) vegetable oil, such as sunflower

2 tablespoons (30 ml) tamari

2 teaspoons curry powder (such as Spice Society)

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Vegetables:

2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, such as sunflower

1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths

½ pound broccoli or broccolini florets (4 cups)

½ pound cauliflower florets (2 cups)

2 large carrots, cut into matchsticks

1 cup finely shredded red cabbage (1/4 of a small head)

marinade from tofu, above (scant ½ cup)

Instructions

Prepare the tofu:

In a large, shallow bowl or baking dish, stir together the rice vinegar, tamari, chili sauce and granulated garlic. Press the tofu firmly between a double layer of paper towels to extract the water and cut into bite-sized pieces (We like rectangles roughly the size of a thumb). Toss the tofu in the marinade and place in a single layer if possible. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and preferably 3 – 4 or up to overnight, tossing occasionally if needed.

Prepare the noodles:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until very al dente, a minute or so less than you normally would – they will cook more as they are fried. Drain the noodles and rinse with cool water until the noodles are cold. Toss with a drizzle of oil to keep the noodles from sticking. Cover and chill until cold, 30 minutes or up to overnight.

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Finish the tofu:

In a shallow bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1 ½ teaspoons granulated garlic and the salt. Reserving the marinade, drain the tofu well through a strainer and into a bowl. Place a third of the tofu in the bowl with the cornstarch mixture, and toss to coat. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wide skillet (eco-nonstick and seasoned cast iron both work well) set over a medium flame until it shimmers. Add the tofu in a single layer, shaking off excess coating. Cook until golden on the first side, 1-2 minutes, then turn each piece and cook on each side until golden, about a minute. Scoop the tofu onto a plate lined with two layers of paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining tofu, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

Cook the vegetables:

Wipe out the skillet and add 2 tablespoons oil, heating over a medium-high flame until it shimmers. Add the carrots, tossing to cook, 1 minute. Add the cauliflower, tossing to cook, 1 minute. Add the broccolini and the reserved marinade. Increase the heat to high and cook, tossing occasionally, until the broccolini is bright green, 2 minutes. Toss in the cabbage and scallions, tossing to wilt, 1 minute; the vegetables will continue to cook from residual heat, so keep them a little firmer than you want. Remove the vegetables to a large bowl (the one you had the marinade in is great) and spread it out a bit to allow the steam to release.

Finish the noodles:

Wipe out the skillet, add 3 tablespoons sunflower oil, and heat over medium-high until the oil shimmers. Use your fingers to unstick the noodles a bit and add them to the hot pan, letting them sit for a minute or two to sear as you sprinkle the tamari and curry powder over those bad boys. Gently toss the noodles to coat them in the goodness and heat through, trying your darndest to break them up as little as possible.

Scrape the noodles onto a platter and top with the vegetables and tofu. Serve right away, passing extra chili garlic sauce or sriracha at the table if you like. Leftovers keep well, refrigerated airtight, for up to a few days. A microwave is your best bet for reheating, but a hot skillet or oven will work, too.

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