Peanut Sesame Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu recipe
As per usual, it’s either wet and cold or bloody roasting in London; at the moment it’s the latter. It’s hair frizzlingly humid and I can’t find anything to wear. I’m not moaning about the sunshine, it’s lovely, just so long as you don’t have to go to work, and can just sit in the garden in your pants. I really don’t feel like putting the oven on so this Peanut Sesame Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu is, in a lovely turn of events, beautifully timed.
Thanks to some inspiration from the Domestic Goddess herself, this recipe is a total summer win. It makes a hearty batch which you can meal prep for your working lunch, take on a picnic or serve as a lunch for hungry friends. I am so late to the tofu party, but since I discovered how easy it is to make super crispy in my air fryer, I’m all over it. If you don’t have an air fryer, try this recipe, or serve with some leftover roast chicken, or just enjoy the noodles without embellishment. I used rice noodles because I love them, but egg noods are just as good. The dressing is simple, using storecupboard favourites; whisk them into a thick sauce and coat your noodles and vegetables for a sweet, crisp, fresh tasting dish.
This recipe is a great template for your noodle based salad. Make it your own, then enjoy outdoors, or when it starts raining on Thursday and we revert to the standard English summer, indoors with a cardi on.
Super summery line up today and I only managed to forget to include the soy sauce in the photo, so well done me. I went for red peppers and sugar snaps for some crispness and colour, but carrots or mange tout would also be super in this summer salad. Like I said, you don’t have to go with tofu with this salad, serve with some lefover roast chicken or other meat if you fancy.
Start by cooking the noods according to the instructions on the packet, or as Nigella suggests, use the pre cooked ones if time is tight. Drain, rinse well in cold water to stop any further cooking or sticking, drain again then tip into a large bowl.
Now for the tofu. I used my much loved air fryer for this as it makes it so crisp. Dry the block of tofu, chop into chunky cubes, dry again then drizzle with garlic or sesame oil then dust with garlic powder or granules.
Place them into the air fryer in a single layer, this may mean you need to cook in two batches, then cook for 15 minutes until crisp and golden, giving them a shake half way through the cooking time.
Keep warm until serving your salad.
Chop your red pepper into matchsticks and finely slice the sugar snaps. Add these to the bowl with the cooled noodles.
For the dressing take a medium jug or bowl and measure in the sesame and garlic oils, soy sauce and lime juice.
Add the peanut butter and sweet chilli sauce then mix/whisk well to combine. You may need to add a splash or two of water to loosen if it’s super thick.
Scrape the dressing onto your noodles and vegetables then mix well to ensure everything’s well coated.
Add the freshly chopped coriander and sesame seeds, mine were black seeds, then mix again.
Top your salad with the warm, crispy tofu and a little more coriander and a scatter of sesame seeds. Wedges of lime with the salad will add a fresh spritz when serving.
This salad is crisp, savoury and incredibly moreish. Pack up and take to work or for a more fun situation, take on a picnic. The good news is this can sit in the fridge for a good two or three days if the weather doesn’t play ball.
Peanut Sesame Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu recipe
Serves 4 to 6, generously
You will just need bowls and a pan for this
450g firm tofu, drained and patted dry
A drizzle garlic or sesame oil
1 teaspoon Garlic powder or granules
200g rice noodles, or use egg if you prefer, cooked, drained and cooled
1 larger or 2 smaller red peppers, chopped into matchsticks
150g sugar snaps, thinly sliced
A handful fresh, chopped coriander
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, black or white, whichever you have to hand
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon garlic oil. I make my own by adding 3 to 4 large peeled cloves to a small bottle of olive oil and leaving for a day or two before using
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
100g smooth peanut butter, I expect crunchy would be just fine too
A splash of water to loosen the dressing
Some more fresh coriander leaves, lime wedges and sesame seeds to garnish
Start by cooking your noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Drain, rinse and cool with cold water then drain again. Add to a large bowl and pop to one side.
For the tofu, pat the block dry on kitchen paper then chop into chunky cubes and pat dry again. Drizzle with garlic oil and the garlic powder. Pop in a single layer, into your air fryer and cook for 15 minutes, giving it a shake half way through, or until crisp and golden. If you don’t have an air fryer, add a little oil to your frying pan and pan fry until golden on all sides.
Chop the red pepper/s into matchsticks then add to the noodles with the thinly sliced sugar snaps. Combine with the noodles.
For the dressing take a medium sized jug or bowl and measure in the sesame oil, garlic oil, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, lime juice and peanut butter. Stir/whisk to combine. If it’s particularly thick, add a couple of splashes of water to loosen.
Scrape the dressing onto the noodles and vegetables and stir thoroughly to coat well. Add the handful of chopped coriander and sesame seeds, stir again then spoon into a serving bowl, plate or boxes to take on a picnic.
Serve scattered with the warm tofu and a little more coriander and sesame seeds and lime wedges for spritzing. This salad will keep for a couple of days in the fridge, well covered. The tofu is best eaten on the day, or warm briefly again in the air fryer.