Japanese noodles with tofu & spicy Thai sauce



This is adapted from an Ottolenghi Flavour recipe. I have cut out some of the steps to make it easier and quicker! I have been cooking my way through his lovely new book during lockdown and think I’m perfecting some of the recipes! We have become increasingly vegan/vegetarian in the past few months and find his combination of middle-eastern with oriental tastes absolutely mouthwatering. Even tofu can taste good! Despite a seemingly long list of ingredients this is quick and easy to make, the secret as with all eastern cookery is to chop everything and  line the ingredients up before you cook. Bon app!

Serves 3-4

  • 600g pre-cooked udon noodles or uncooked ramen
  • 10g Thai basil leaves
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced into long strips
  • 10g coriander leaves, finely sliced
  • 2 red chillies, finely sliced into long strips
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

For the tofu:

  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 2 ½ tbsp sunflower oil
  • 350g firm tofu, press to remove any water, pat dry, then cut into bite-sized pieces

For the spicy Thai sauce:

  • ½ tbsp basmati rice
  • ¾ tbsp Aleppo chilli flakes (or 1/3 tsp ordinary chilli flakes)
  • 160ml of orange juice
  • 20g tamarind paste
  • 2 ½ tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 40g banana shallot, finely diced
  • 5g coriander, finely chopped


Start by marinating the tofu. Mix all the tofu ingredients (use only 1 tbsp oil) in a dish that can hold the tofu pieces in a single layer. Add the tofu and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour, turning halfway through.

Next, make the sauce. Put the rice into a small saucepan over a medium-high heat and toast for 2 ½ minutes. Add the aleppo chilli/chilli flakes and toast for another 30 seconds, until fragrant (the fried chilli gets to the back of your nose and throat and leaves you gasping. It’s a good COVID test – if you smell nothing you’re sick!). Grind to a coarse powder in with a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Put the ground rice mixture into a medium bowl, then add the orange juice, tamarind, fish sauce, maple syrup, soy sauce, shallot and coriander. Mix together, then pour into a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat and cook gently for a couple of minutes, until warm.

To fry the tofu, heat the remaining 1 ½ tbsp of the oil in a large, non-stick pan over a medium-high heat until very hot, then the tofu, making sure it’s spaced apart. Fry for 1 ½ to 2 minutes on each side or until crispy and golden brown. Set aside while you fry the rest. Stir any remaining tofu marinade into the noodles.

Add the noodles (pre-cook the ramen if using them) to the sauce liquid and cook for 3 minutes, stirring.

When nice and warm and well-blended serve up the noodles (most of the liquid will have been absorbed) and put the fried tofu on top. Mix in the coriander, spring onions, sesame seeds, basil and a bit of sliced chilli on top to blow your socks off!


Festive noodles!

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