Kia ora! Hello from Aotearoa / New Zealand.
I arrived here a few weeks ago. New Zealand is a beautiful country. The people whom I have met are wonderful. I am staying with beautiful friends of mine: Rachel, Sadra, Ranui Hafez, and Emma. I met Rachel around 9 years ago in Greece and we travelled through to Italy together, and we magically reconnected last summer in Victoria, BC.
I wanted to cook something from my heart for them for dinner tonight. So, the first thing that came to mind was this dish. I was introduced to this dish by my dear Fabrizio. We made this twice together, and both times the experience from start to finish, was fantastic. I very much look forward to making this again with him.
This recipe was originally developed by Chef Heidi Fink. Here is that recipe with a few twists, and a few substitutions based on availability of spray-free veggies here in the Northlands (Mangawhai, to be exact) of Aotearoa.
- 1/2 lb organic tofu – medium
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 package of rice noodles
- 2/12 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp gluten free tamari
- 1 1/2 tsp hoisin sauce ** see recipe below
- 2 Tbsp honey
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 gloves garlic. minced
- 2 green onions, cut thin on a diagnol
- 1/2 red pepper , seeded and sliced thinly
- 3/4 cup snow peas (these were not available so I used green beans and courgette (zucchini))
- 2 cups fresh bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 3 to 4 Tbsp lime juice
- lime wedges (if you have remaining lime).
- Preheat the oven to 400*F (200*C). Now (seriously) the trick to this recipe is to read all of the instructions and do all the prep work before you get started. Rinse and press your tofu to water out. Now chop the tofu into medium sized cubes. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Put in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the tofu starts to turn golden. Remove and set aside.
- Soak the rice noodles in hot tap water for 20-30 minutes until pliable but not mushy. (It is better to under soak these then have mush). Drain and set aside.
- If you don’t have hoisin sauce, now is time to skip to the hoisin sauce recipe (see below). Take a small pot and combine the fish sauce, water, tamari, hoisin, and honey. Put over medium heat and stir until honey dissolves. Remove from heat and add a tiny sprinkle of child flakes.
- Heat coconut oil in a large skillet to medium-high. Add the garlic, stir once, and immediately add the green onions, and veggies (red pepper and snow peas). Stir fry for about 3 minutes. Veggies will soften a bit and garlic will become fragrant.
- Add your sauce to this mix stir until the sauce starts to bubble, then stir in your noodles. Stir constantly with tongs or two wooden spoons, cook until noodles are tender.
- Add your tofu and most of the bean sprouts and toss. Cook for about a minute. Transfer this beautiful dish to a large serving platter. Top with remaining bean sprouts, and ALL of the chopped herbs and peanuts. Sprinkle the lime juice evenly over the dish. Serve with lime wedges if you like.
**Hoisin Sauce. Hoisin sauce here seemed to be full of added preservatives, colours, and also wheat. To keep this as clean and nutritionally dense as possible I opted to make my own hoisin sauce. It turned out good. Very good. I think it’s good, I also am not 100% sure that I know what hoisin sauce tastes like, so please don’t expect anything close to “authentic” hoisin sauce, if that’s a thing. Makes 3/4 c.
- 4 Tbsp wheat-free tamari
- 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 2 Tbsp peanut butter (I used chunky)
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- pinch black pepper
- drop of spice (hot sauce, chill flakes, etc)
- Combine all ingredients in a little food processor. BAM = done!
For tonight’s dinner I made extra noodles (1/2 pkg), I am only mildly ashamed to say that I over baked the tofu (oops), and used a lot of extra veggies. So, to accommodate these things I doubled the sauce. Turned out fantastic. YUM. Sadly, there are no leftovers for tomorrow.