What makes it a salad?
By definition, salad is a dish that requires no cooking after all the ingredients are combined. Some of those ingredients may be raw while others may be cooked. In this recipe, the tofu skin noodles are boiled, the vegetables and sausages are stir fried, the sauce (or call it a dressing) is uncooked, but after they are all combined, the dish is complete. So, technically, it is a salad.
What exactly is tofu skin noodle?
Tofu is the curd of ground soy beans. In the process of boiling the ground soy beans in water (what some call soy milk), a skin forms on the surface of the liquid. This skin is sold as tofu skin although, depending on your location, it may come by other names including beancurd skin or beancurd sheet. You can buy it fresh, frozen or dried.
Tofu noodles is tofu skin that has been shredded into thin strands that resemble noodles. Tofu skin noodle is gluten-free and low in calories. I’m not gluten intolerant and I don’t count calories, but I do love tofu including tofu skin.
How to prep dried tofu skin noodles
Dried tofu skin noodles need to be rehydrated. Drop the noodles in boiling water and cook for about five minutes with occasional stirring to separate the strands.
Drain the noodles and refresh under the tap to stop the cooking immediately. Rinsing after boiling also removes the aftertaste and strong smell that often accompany dried beancurd. Drain thoroughly before using in a dish.
How to make tofu skin noodle salad
After the boiled and rinsed tofu skin noodles have been drained thoroughly, you may just drizzle sauce (or dressing, if you insist that it is the proper term for a salad) over them and toss. The tofu skin noodles will soak up that sauce.
You may also add toasted sesame seeds to give the noodles even more flavor and better aroma.
To give your tofu skin noodle salad a little brightness, add thinly sliced scallions and toss. And that’s it. You have a simple dish that’s flavorful and filling. But you don’t have to stop there. You may add more.
Heat a little oil and saute sliced shallots and garlic. Add carrot and cook, tossing and stirring a few times, for a minute or so to allow the carrot to soften slightly.
Turn up the heat, throw in asparagus, sprinkle in salt and pepper, and stir fry just until the asparagus start to soften. Then, add sliced Chinese sausages and continue cooking until the vegetables are all done and the sausages have rendered a little fat.
Dump your stir fried vegetables and Chinese sausages over your simple tofu skin noodle salad, toss throughly to distribute the vegetables and sausage slices, and you’re in for one heck of a tasty meal.
Tofu skin noodle salad
- 200 grams dried tofu skin noodles
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger - with the juice
- 1 teaspoon chili oil
- 1 teaspoon calamansi juice - or lemon or lime juice
- 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
- ½ cup thinly sliced scallions
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 shallot - peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic - peeled and thinly sliced
- ½ cup julienned carrot
- 10 to 12 asparagus spears - cut into two-inch lengths
- rock salt
- ground black pepper
- 2 Chinese sausages - sliced into rings
- Cook the tofu skin noodles in boiling water until softened, about four to five minutes. Drain, rinse under the tap and drain again.
- Mix together all the ingredients of the sauce / dressing minus the toasted sesame seeds.
- Place the drained tofu skin noodles in a bowl, drizzle in the sauce / dressing and toss well.
- Add the sesame seeds and scallions, and toss. Set aside.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan, and saute the shallot and garlic until aromatic.
- Add the julienned carrot and cook, stirring, for a minute.
- Turn up the heat, add the asparagus, sprinkle in a teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of pepper. Stir fry for a minute.
- Add the sliced Chinese sausages and continue stir frying for another minute.
- Drump the stir fried vegetables and Chinese sausages into the bowl with the tofu skin noodles and toss thoroughly.
- Taste. Add more salt and pepper, if needed, and serve immediately.