Today is Doni’s birthday. He is the food/product photographer and co-blogger behind vegan miam (he does some proofreading and writes travel-related posts and product reviews). Not only is he an amazing photographer, but he is my best friend, soulmate, fashionista (well yes, he has great taste in fashion), and vegan foodie buddy. Doni’s early birthday consisted of a gorgeous vegan confetti cake (pictured below) from Sweetpea Baking Company in Portland, OR (Thanks N+L); it was absolutely tasty!
We also had a fantastic celebratory meal made by his dad: hearty vegan torchiette pasta (twisted type) with homemade stock, chickpeas and tomato & marinated kale salad with orange, pine nuts and roasted golden beets. C’était délicieux! From now on, I will keep his recipe as a secret.
To celebrate this very special day, I am sharing one of Doni’s favorite refreshing meals that he made last summer: Birthday Asian Noodle Salad with Tangy Peanut Sauce, along with Bittman’s Asian-Style Cucumber Soup. It is his turn to show off his culinary skills on the blog and sometimes, I really need a break from the kitchen.
The noodle salad is adapted from a non-vegetarian recipe in the The New York Times and involves one of the common Asian condiments: fish sauce, which we’ve veganized last year. Pictured below is the Asian dipping sauce consisting of our vegan fish sauce, coconut sugar, fresh lime juice, finely grated garlic and 8 small Thai red and green chiles. You can use the dipping sauce in rice, noodles, or even a shredded papaya salad.
We pressed, marinated and baked the tofu until slightly browned. The marinade contains garlic, ginger, lemongrass, our vegan fish sauce, tamari, toasted sesame oil, maple syrup and ground Thai chile. If you don’t like tofu, use king trumpet mushrooms or Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips (shredded). We like both and find them pretty tasty in chilled salads.
For noodles, use any type of Asian noodles. But for noodle salads, I recommend any rice noodles, rice vermicelli, kelp noodles, soba or shirataki. We used Korean rice noodles, but we prefer soba or rice vermicelli for this type of dish. Cucumber and shredded carrots bring colors to this dish.
Prepare the vegan fish sauce first, this will be enough for the recipe. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. The sauce will keep for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Blend the ingredients with an immersion blender, a blender or small food processor until creamy. Transfer the peanut sauce into a Pyrex measuring cup or bowl.
Carefully slice tofu into 1-inch thick cubes and place them in a baking dish or tray. Blend the garlic, ginger, lemon grass, vegan fish sauce, tamari, sesame oil, maple syrup and dried chili flakes with an immersion blender, a blender or small food processor. Pour the mixture onto the tofu, toss to coat and marinate for an hour in the refrigerator, covered. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the tofu for at least 10 minutes each side.
To serve, divide the cooked noodles among four bowls and top with cucumbers, carrot, mung bean sprouts and baked tofu (or grilled trumpet mushrooms). Spoon some dipping sauce and peanut sauce over each bowl and sprinkle with scallions and crushed peanuts. Garnish with basil (optional), mint and cilantro. Douse with some lime juice.
The recipe is adapted from Cold Rice Noodles With Grilled Chicken and Peanut Sauce recipe in the New York Times.
To prepare marinated trumpet mushrooms, heat grill and oil lightly. Place mushrooms on the grill and cook for about 3 minutes on each side until slightly browned.
Get the Chilled Cucumber-Cilantro Soup recipe here. This vegan and gluten-free soup is filled with loads of beautiful healthy greens you can find at farmers’ market: cucumbers, rice vinegar, chili, scallions, arugula, cilantro and mint.