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Category: Vegan

Warabi Mochi

Warabi Mochi

Warabi Mochi is a traditional dessert enjoyed in Japan, especially during the summer months. Usually served chilled, it has a fun jelly-like texture. Chewy and “bouncy” textures are really popular in many Asian countries, celebrated for their unique and satisfying mouthfeel. From Taiwan’s boba drinks read more

Soy Glazed Potatoes

Soy Glazed Potatoes

Whenever I tell people that I don’t love potatoes, they gasp as if I just said I hate kittens. But it’s true, they aren’t my fave veggie by a long shot. I usually find them kind of bland and boring. Generally when I want a read more

Vegetarian Flat Noodles

Vegetarian Flat Noodles

I can’t believe we’ve gotten through almost the entire first month of the year and I haven’t posted a noodle recipe yet. Well that travesty ends today! These Vegetarian Flat Noodles are an absolute winner of a dish. They are on the table so fast- I use fresh rice noodles that get stir fried, no boiling water required. The sauce is an umami bomb that is made from simple but oh so savory pantry ingredients, like hoisin and vegetarian oyster sauce. There’s tofu cutlets for protein, and flavor powerhouses like fermented black beans and garlic chives. We love a one pan masterpiece for dinner, so let’s get into it!

ingredients vegetarian flat noodles

First I start by making the sauce. You can use vegetarian oyster sauce, or sub with stir fry sauce. And if you’re not vegetarian, you can go ahead and use regular oyster sauce. I like to use white pepper because it has an earthy funk I love, but plain black pepper will do if that’s what you have on hand. Soy sauce and a little sugar round it out.

sauce ingredients vegetarian flat noodles

sauce vegetarian flat noodles

After the sauce is done, I set it aside and start prepping the other ingredients, starting with the noodles. I use a fresh rice noodle for this, which can be found at most Asian grocers. They look like a solid white cake but are folded rice sheets that you must first cut. (If you only have dried rice noodles first you will need to soak them according to the package directions and then proceed with the recipe.) Fresh rice noodles are sticky when they are fresh but turn brittle once they are refrigerated. Once you are done cutting them into strips, you must then separate the strips and pull them apart. Be gentle as they can break easily.

Next I get all the veggies and tofu prepped. Remember, this is a stir fry dish and as such, everything needs to be ready before you begin cooking.

red onion and chives

I like to use a tofu cutlet for this. These are ready to use firm tofu blocks that have been fried. I like the flavor and texture it gives the dish. It also has a lot less moisture than other kinds of tofu so it holds its shape nicely in Vegetarian Flat Noodles. And because it has a crust from being fried, it doesn’t adhere to the pan like regular tofu can. (It’s also awesome in Kiriboshi Daikon and Lemongrass Tofu Rice Salad.)

If you can’t find it or prefer to use regular tofu, you can use firm or extra firm tofu instead but use a gentle hand when stir frying it so the tofu stays intact.

tofu vegetarian flat noodles

Now that everything is prepped it’s time to get cooking. Make sure you have everything within easy reach as this part goes lightening fast. I used a large non-stick skillet which kept the moist ingredients from sticking to the pan. If you’re using a regular skillet, make sure it’s a well seasoned one and heat it for several minutes before starting.

onions and tofu noodles

bean sprouts spinach flat noodles

Taste a noodle and make sure it’s hot, chewy, and delicious. Adjust seasoning if needed with a little salt and ground pepper. Give everything a final stir and then your Vegetarian Flat Noodles are ready to serve!

I hope you enjoy our first noodles of the year! Take a moment to comment and let us know what you think, and don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!

If you are as much of a noodle fiend as I am, check out some of our most popular recipes:

Spicy Garlic Noodles

Coconut Curry Noodles

Beef Udon

Pancit

 

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noodle recipe card

Vegetarian Flat Noodles

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 2-3 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 Pack fresh rice noodles about 8 ounces 
  • ¼ red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 package tofu cutlet
  • 1 ½ cup packed spinach (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • ½ inch bundle garlic chives (I used the ones with flower buds)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and minced ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon fermented black beans
  • 1 Tablespoon neutral oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

Sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetarian Oyster or Stir Fry Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Hoisin Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

Instructions

Mix the sauce:

  1. Combine the vegetarian oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sugar, ground white pepper, and water.
  2. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Make Noodles:

  1. Cut the noodles into 1 inch strips. Peel the noodles apart and set aside.
  2. Trim ½ inch off of the base of the garlic chives. Cut into 2 inch pieces. You should have about ¾ cup. Set aside.
  3. Cut the tofu cutlet in half horizontally so you have 2 thin pieces. Then, from the shorter end, cut the tofu into thin strips. Set aside.
  4. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil, the onions, and the tofu. Stir fry for 2 minutes, moving the contents of the pan around constantly. 
  5. Add the garlic, ginger, and black beans and stir to combine. 
  6. Next add the noodles and stir fry for 1 minute, moving them around the pan to start softening the noodles. 
  7. Add the sauce and garlic chives and cook for 2 minutes, mixing to keep everything cooking evenly. The noodles should be soft and translucent. Cook for an additional minute if they are still a little stiff.
  8. Add the bean sprouts, spinach, and the sesame oil. Cook for a minute to wilt the spinach and beans sprouts. Taste and adjust seasonings with a little salt and pepper if needed.
  9. Serve immediately.   

Notes

*You can find fermented black beans in a well stocked Asian market. They are in the dry goods section. Once open, I put the package in a zip-top bag and store them in the freezer. They’re good for at least several months.

*Fresh rice noodles are available at Asian markets usually near baked goods or other ready to eat foods. Sometimes they will have them in the refrigerated section as well. If you prefer to use dried rice noodles, look for the widest ones, which look like fettuccine. Use about 4-5 ounces dried noodles for the recipe and soak the noodles in cool water for 20 minutes. Drain the noodles before starting.

Keywords: rice noodles, vegetarian, fermented black beans, tofu

Broccoli Tofu Patties

Broccoli Tofu Patties

Broccoli is polarizing. I know fully-fledged adults who will only touch it if it’s buried under a blanket of melted cheese, or raw and dunked in a vat of ranch dressing. And I get it. Broccoli is often overcooked, mushy, and bland. And a lot read more

Broccoli Shiitake Shumai

Broccoli Shiitake Shumai

It’s always nice when everyone at the table can enjoy the same meal and no one feels left out. My beautiful friend Ellen Kanner has been making sure that vegans have delicious and exciting food on her table with her wonderful blog Soulful Vegan, her read more

Cucumber Tomato Salad

Cucumber Tomato Salad

It feels like it’s almost too hot to eat these days, let alone cook. That’s where this Cucumber Tomato Salad comes in. Summer produce at its peak doesn’t need much in the way of embellishment, but a quick dressing with some umami rich favorites keeps this out of run of the mill salad territory. Juicy tomatoes, crunchy and cooling cucumbers, drizzled with a tangy and nutty dressing…this is what you need when you can’t even fathom turning on the oven.

Although this salad features cucumbers and tomatoes, you could easily swap out the veggie combinations for either what’s in season at that point, what’s in your fridge, or what you prefer. So avocados and radishes, roasted cauliflower or eggplant, blanched green beans or bean sprouts, or even some crumbled tofu stirred in are all good options. Can’t stand the heat but still need to eat? Forget the stove and let’s get chopping!

ingredients cucumber tomato salad

I start making my Cucumber Tomato Salad by washing and prepping the veggies. I usually reach for the long, thin European cucumbers or the smaller Persian ones. Both of them are more crunchy and less watery, which will keep your salad from turning mushy, and they also have thin unwaxed skin that doesn’t need to be peeled.

diagonal chunks cucumber tomato salad

For the tomatoes, get whatever looks good. Large heirloom tomatoes, or smaller grape/cherry ones will all work here. Unlike the rest of the country, Florida grows in the winter, so my tomatoes are simple grocery ones. I prefer brown kumamotos which are widely available, juicy, and flavorful.

tomatoes chopped

onions

Since this is such a speedy simple dish and we do eat with our eyes, I take care to compose my Cucumber Tomato Salad in an appealing way on a nice platter or deep bowl. This one was made by my dad during his ceramic phase. This salad can be made ahead, covered and refrigerated. Keep this salad undressed as the dressing will quickly be diluted by the watery veggies if tossed ahead of time.

composed salad

The Tomato Cucumber Salad Dressing

It’s really this dressing that elevates this salad into something you’ll be craving all through these warm days. For kids and adults who may frown at vegetables, a great sauce or dressing can really turns things around. Fresh and interesting flavors can help motivate those who are unenthusiastic. And we need to break the ranch crutch. So until you can get your table-mates excited for your veggie masterpieces, keep it fresh by introducing different kinds of vegetables with new flavors.

For this dressing, the workhorse is sesame. Sesame seeds feature prominently in Asian cooking and a deep roasted sesame flavor is particularly prized by Japanese palates. You’ll see all sorts of sesame dressings and sauces lined up at the grocery store and gourmet food sections in department store basements. Our dressing pairs freshly toasted sesame seeds with toasted sesame oil, ginger and garlic to bring a little zing, plus rice vinegar and soy sauce which provide a refreshing tanginess. Even though I always buy already toasted sesame seeds, I toast them for a few minutes again because nothing beats that freshly toasted aroma and flavor. Don’t skip this step as you’ll be richly rewarded.

I like to coarsely grind the sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle, keeping some good texture and grit for the dressing. There’s something so satisfying about using these old fashioned pieces of kitchen equipment. Grinding the sesame in this way allows you to do it more slowly, letting you see your progress, and also gives you control over small quantities that may be more difficult to work with in large food processors or blenders. Finally, a mortar and pestle releases the oils in the seeds better.

If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can also make this dressing in a blender or food processor. Place all of your prepped ingredients into the work cup and blend/process until you have a thick dressing.

 

toast sesame seeds

 

Normally with other Asian cuisines, the flavors are more robust and bits of garlic and ginger are appreciated. But Japanese food embraces subtlety, so I use a Japanese style grater to get the ginger and garlic silky smooth. You can also do this manually with a knife and chopping board, but keep mincing until your garlic and ginger are extra fine.

The veggies can be prepped, and the dressing made ahead of time, making this salad even more of a perfect summer staple. Keep the Cucumber Tomato Salad and dressing separate until serving though so the cucumbers stay crunchy and the veggies don’t get discolored. My preference is to just serve the dressing at the table so everyone can help themselves. If the dressing has been sitting for a while, give it a quick stir.

I hope this Cucumber Tomato Salad inspires you to get back in the kitchen for at least a little while this summer, and enjoy a cooling and healthful meal. Take a minute to let me know what you think, and of course don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!

Looking for more salad inspo? Check out my Noodle Salad, Wild Mushroom Salad, or this Brussels Sprouts one!

 

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recipe card cucumber tomato salad

Cucumber Tomato Salad

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: salads
  • Cuisine: Pan-Asian

Ingredients

Scale

For the Salad:

  • 1 European cucumber or 4 small persian cucumbers
  • 2 large tomatoes- or a mix of any kind is fine, about 2 cups.
  • ¼ red onion 

For the Dressing:

  • 4 tablespoons Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and grated ginger 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated or minced fine
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar 
  • 4 Tablespoon light colored soy sauce (regular is fine too)
  • 4 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Wash the cucumber. Trim the ends and then cut it in half lengthwise and slice it diagonally into chunky bite-size pieces.
  2. Wash the tomatoes and then cut them in half and then into wedges, slices, or attractive chunks. 
  3. Slice the red onion into very fine pieces. Rinse the onion in a colander under cold running water and then drain the water completely. Set aside.
  4. Toast the sesame seeds in a clean dry pan over medium heat for several minutes. Be sure to stir the sesame seeds to keep them from burning.
  5. Put the sesame seeds into the mortar and grind using a back and forth motion. You want a coarse grind where some of the seeds may still be whole.
  6. Add the ginger, garlic, sugar, light colored soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil to the mortar bowl. Stir to combine and then transfer to a small pitcher or serving container.
  7. Divide the cucumber mixture into four individual bowls or one deep platter. Top with the tomato and the red onion. Serve the Cucumber Tomato Salad immediately with the dressing on the side.

Notes

*Even though the sesame seeds are already toasted, I like to re-toast them in the skillet. This step brings out more of the toasty, nutty flavor.

*I like to keep the dressing separate until serving since it will draw water from the veggies and you will end up with a very runny unattractive looking salad.

*You can make all of the components ahead of time and covered until ready to serve.

Keywords: salads, tomato, cucumber, summer, sesame seeds,