If you follow the blog regularly, it will not take long for you to recognize that I love all kinds of Asian food. My two youngest children have developed a nagging obsession with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Today, I took a stand. “Yes, I will make you peanut butter in a minute,” I said to them after the request of the day. Instead, I concocted the Thai noodles with peanut sauce recipe below, and they ate it, then asked for a sandwich.
Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce: Recipe Highlights
Working with tofu
If you have never worked with tofu, here’s a crash course. As a meat substitute, I like to use extra firm tofu. This recipe is traditionally made with chicken and called Thai Peanut Chicken. It comes in blocks soaked in liquid, of which you do NOT want to keep. Drain the liquid getting as much out of the tofu as possible. By covering it in towels, you will draw out the remaining moisture. Drawing out the liquid makes room for your marinade to invade the tofu, so evict that nasty soybean juice (or whatever it is) and sign a new renter’s agreement with your peanut sauce marinade.
The marinade itself is easy. Combine the ingredients (soy sauce, peanut butter, garlic powder, rice vinegar) and microwave it for a minute. It’s really only the peanut butter that doesn’t want to cooperate, so make sure it’s warm enough to mix well. I forgot to use creamy peanut butter at first in my marinade…can you tell? Don’t waste your precious crunchy peanut butter on the marinade.
Once you have the tofu drained and the marinade is ready, let them hang out in the refrigerator for a bit…30 minutes at least. Let the peanut sauce marinade absorb into the tofu and you will no longer taste the ick flavor commonly associated with improperly prepared tofu. While that is going on, work on your peanut sauce. It’s a “pimped out” version of the marinade.
Heat up your onion, garlic, and oil in a medium size pot and cook until the veggies are translucent. Add in the liquids (soy sauce, chicken broth) and last, the peanut butter. You can even add in some crushed red pepper if you like it hot.
Prepare your noodles according to the package. After they are done, toss them in 2/3 of your peanut sauce (reserving the rest for topping).
I take a shortcut and used frozen stir fry veggies. HUSH! I was supposed to be making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while the kids were waiting so shortcuts were necessary. Don’t screw with hungry preschool children. They are cute demons-in-waiting.
Once all that is done, it’s time to heat up your veggies and tofu. I used a wok, but it’s not necessary. Feel free to use your skillet. Toss your stir fry veggies in the pan for a couple minutes (keep them crisp, but not frozen), then add in the tofu. I don’t add both the tofu and veggies in at the same time because, even though the tofu is considered extra-firm, it’s still delicate and can begin to look like scrambled eggs if you do not coddle it like a newborn.
Now that you have cooked all the parts, it’s assembly time. Do what you want here, but I like noodles first, veggies and tofu, then extra sauce, and then a garnish of crushed peanuts and red pepper. Yeah, about that garnish…I had a jar of honey roasted peanuts hiding in the pantry, so I put it in the food processor and added the peanuts on top.
Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce
- 1 package frozen stir fry vegetables
- 1 package Thai rice noodles
- 1 package tofu extra-firm
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 3/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/3 cup onions diced
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper optional
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 tbsp crushed peanuts
- 2 tsp minced garlic
Drain the tofu and cover in towels to absorb the excess moisture (get out as much as possible so it has room to “re-absorb” the marinade.”
In a microwave-safe bowl, make the peanut sauce: combine 1/4 cup peanut butter, rice vinegar, 1/4 cup soy sauce, and garlic powder. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute.
Once the moisture from the tofu is removed (about 30 minutes wrapped in a towel), slice the tofu into bite-size pieces and dredge it in the marinade. Cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
While it’s marinating, in a medium pot on medium heat add the oil, garlic, and onions. Cook until the vegetables are translucent (about 4-5 minutes).
Add in the broth, 1/4 cup soy sauce, and rice vinegar; bring to a low simmer then turn the heat to low and add the 1/2 cup peanut butter and crushed red pepper.
Stir frequently until the sauce is completely combined. Remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare the rice noodles according to package, drain, and toss in 2/3 of the peanut sauce.
In a wok or skillet on high heat, add the frozen vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes before adding in the marinated tofu. Cook for an additional 2-3 minute or until everything is thoroughly heated.
Prepare a large bowl: noodles on the bottom, veggies, and tofu in the middle, topped with 1/3 peanut sauce, and garnished with crushed peanuts and a pinch of crushed red pepper on top.
Serve warm. Leftovers can be refrigerated and taste just as good.
Despite how awesome I might appear online, mistakes happen. If you happen to spot one on this recipe, save your fellow cooks a disaster and let me know by using the contact form.