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Tofu Bun Cha

Serves 2
Takes 40 minutes 

It’s rich yet subtle, hearty yet sophisticated; the peanut butter dressing is just lovely when it fries and goes crispy, and it’s beautifully balanced with the zesty, crunchy salad. Noodles make this a more filling dish in the colder months, but might not be needed in warmer seasons unless really hungry.

It is possible to replicate ponzu by combining  lemon juice with soy sauce. Yuzu could be replaced by a combination of lemon and lime juice

The tofu marinade:-
200g firm tofu, cut into 1cm slices widthways across the block
½ a stalk of lemongrass, very finely chopped
1 tbspn light soy sauce
Juice of ½ a lime

The peanut coating for the tofu:- 
1 level tbspn peanut butter
3 tsps ponzu
2 tsp yuzu
Juice of ½ a lime
½ a hot red chilli, very finely chopped

Coconut or groundnut oil to fry

The noodles and veg:-
Small portion of Japanese or rice noodles (optional)
Large handful of dark salad leaves
1 medium carrot, peeled, and sliced into matchsticks
½ a small cucumber, peeled, and sliced into matchsticks
1 spring onion, finely chopped
½ a ripe avocado, peeled, and finely sliced lengthways
1 dstspn chopped coriander leaves
1 small handful of mixed basil leaves, mint leaves, lemon balm leaves (optional) and dill, torn up a bit

The overall dressing:-
2 tspns runny honey
1 tbspn light soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime 

  • First, get the tofu marinading by mixing the soy, half of a lime’s juice and lemongrass. Put the tofu slices into a bowl, and pour the marinade over. Turn the tofu carefully to make sure both sides are coated, but be careful not to break it up. Set aside. 
  • Make the peanut coating by mixing half of lime’s juice with the peanut butter, the ponzu, the yuzu and 2 tablespoons of water. Set aside 
  • Mix the dressing ingredients together, set aside 
  • Put the carrot, cucumber, spring onion and avocado into a bowl with the chopped coriander, and mix gently 
  • If you fancy them, cook your noodles now, and rinse and drain 
  • Get two serving plates ready, and, if you’re using them, onto each plate put a small heap of noodles, then put the green salad leaves, then the veg, adding a splash of the dressing with each layer 
  • Get a frying pan heating. When it’s good and hot, add a little oil. Then quickly put the slices of drained tofu. (Don’t discard the marinade, it can be used in other noodle dishes, and will last for a while in the fridge). Fry on a medium heat until golden and crispy, then flip and fry the other sides. Turn the heat down then dribble the peanut butter and lime mix in, making sure the tofu gets coated. Cook for a minute, then flip the slices and cook for a minute more 
  • Pile the tofu on top of the veg on the servings plates, scatter the torn up herbs on top and serve with a little bowl of the remaining dressing on the side