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Pastrami tofu, the best curry I ever made, and bouncy noodles

Three surprisingly good meals this week that all merit a mention, and nothing overly ugly to assault your eyes either!

First up is my new go-to meal when I have a fearsome hunger but not the time or the energy to match.

It's a sort of variation on japchae: veggies, cellophane noodles, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and Korean soy bean paste (doenjang, I think). Pour boiling water over noodles and leave for five minutes. Fry garlic and ginger, add veggies, fry til done, then add the noodles and soy and doenjang to taste. Job's a good 'un!

It's one of those wondrous meals you can get from chopping board to furiously shovelling it down your throat in 15 minutes or so.

Both doenjang and cellophane noodles (aka bean thread, glass or crystal noodles) are fairly new additions to my pantry, but I couldn't live without either now. Doenjang brings that rich umami flavour that I love and goes perfectly with shiitakes, while cellophane noodles have a wonderfully bouncy texture that's both comforting and addictive.

Alas, there's nowhere near me that sells either, so I have to make a massive detour to the Oriental supermarket in Elephant and Castle. Still, it's worth it - more noodles, more doenjang, more steamed buns and tofu related shenanigans. What's not to love?!

The other new recipe I gave a go to recently was pastrami-style tofu, courtesy of The Telegraph, of all places (recipe's here - it's veggie but not vegan, though veganising it is no great stretch). There's not much to it, bar pressing some tofu and leave it to marinade in some spices and herbs for a while, then pan frying it.

The original recipe has some odd amount of sugar in it, but I just left most of it out, and it still turned out spicy and delicious.

I can't actually remember what the white blob on the plate is, so I'm just going to guess - magic? Pixie dust? The sound of children's laughter? Or butter bean mash? I'll let you decide... There's also broccoli with peppers, and kale and peas.

Last up - a curry. I've mentioned on more than on occasion how I love eating curries, but struggle with making them. I may have finally exited that dark period - behold the wonder of this chick pea laden glory:

It's another recipe from a mainstream newspaper - in this case, The Guardian - with a few tweaks.

The original recipe (found here, among a bunch of other very non-vegan other recipes. Alternative here) is for a tomato curry, and involves skinning tomatoes and sieving mixtures. These days I don't have time to read the paper, let alone skin a tomato, so I followed the recipe but mortar-and-pestled the spices first and didn't sieve them out later. I also turned the 12 peeled tomatoes (that's twelve!) for a couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes and a can of chick peas.

The end result was hands-down the nicest curry I've ever made. Oddly, unlike most curries, it tasted better on the day it was made, not the day after. If that means I have to eat it all in one day, I reckon that's probably just another reason to love it.

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  1. those noodles look great - wonder if that soy bean paste is sold in our new local asian supermarket (they are good on chinese but not so good on japanese - not sure how korean fits in)

    and am very excited at the tofu pastrami - had my first reuben sandwich today and was wondering what pastrami actually tastes like - I had vegan bacon in mine

  2. It's nice to see some other chefs working with the Sounds of Children's Laughter. It's one of the most overlooked ingredients in today's culinary scene!

    I love all of these delicious plates. I would happily gobble up any one of them; although, I have a big weakness for Asian-style noodles. So I would have to start there!

  3. I don't even want to admit how many times I ate bean thread noodles last week. I think I love them a little too much. I can't guess what pastrami tofu tastes like, because I've never imagined a tofu and pastrami food group, but now you've got me curious so I'm off to check the recipe!

  4. Some great ideas there and I'm very interested in the noodle dish. I've never had Cellaphane noodles but I work in the city centre so only 5 minutes from Manchester's China town supermarkets. Will have to check them out. Have you had konjac noodles? I reviewed them the other week for Can I Eat It app. They've got quite a different texture to normal noodles and hardly any calories.

  5. Oh my god, do people actually peel tomatoes? The peels aren't really unpleasant to eat, so I've never really considered it! All three of these dishes look deelishes - I love chewy noodles, and we're always looking for new things to do with tofu.

  6. Haha, great, I love things that aren't overly ugly!
    Couldn't you buy peeled tomatoes? I love a good tomatoey curry but also am a huge fan of those noodles. They weren't really on my radar for a long time either but I went through a phase not too long ago when I ate them a lot. Then I kinda forgot, so thank you! I'll have to try japchae!

  7. Yum these all look great! I love finding new ways to cook tofu and those noodles look so good. And yes life is definitely too short to peel a tomato :)

  8. I have never had japchae, but sign me up! It looks delicious, as does the tofu and curry. And I most definitely will check out that link for tomato curry!

  9. Such beautiful dishes; I'm just blocking out the cilantro...

    I always eyeball those cellophane noodles, but I have a propensity for making noodles clump...

  10. Very curious about the pastrami tofu! I grew up old school Jewish delis, eating cold cuts with the rest of my family, so we all have a taste for those classic flavors. I bet those same spices could be just as delicious in plenty of other applications, so I'll have to experiment a bit with that...

  11. Cellophane noodles are the best! I always have a package or two laying around. The pastrami tofu and curry look pretty darn good too. :-)

  12. Those noodles are calling my name!

  13. I love noodles so much and I never make them at home. What is wrong with me? Thanks for reminding me to buy some!

  14. I've never heard of doenjang but I love japchae so I'm going to have to keep my eyes peeled for doenjang next time I'm in Chinatown! I recently saw some sort of interesting japchae inside a fried bun thing on a Korean food blog (apparently it's fairly common street food) and I can't stop thinking about it, so I'm going to have to make japchae or something similar soon.

  15. I'll be right over. Well, wish I could be right over ;)

  16. Those noodles are calling my name!

  17. I love japchae, looks so tasty with that fermented soy bean paste! And wow on that pastrami-style tofu … that white blob on the plate looks like mashed potatoes or cauliflower puree, I’m not sure! Was it tasty? Chickpea tomato curry looks delicious, I enjoy reading the recipes from The Guardian, too, I always bookmarked some of them for potential recipes to try!


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