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As I mentioned the other day, I love banh mi. I could eat one every day. But, featuring lots of white bread, a mayonnaise-based sauce and (often) lots of delicious, juicy– but fatty– meat, it is not the healthiest of options, at least not for a daily treat. Now back to the loving them so much: I decided to come up with new ways to enjoy the flavors of banh mi without all the bad-for-you* parts, and this rice noodle dish is the best so far. It highlights the bright crispiness of the pickled daikon and carrots (do chua); the hint of spiciness, from sriracha instead of jalapenos this time; the creamy avocado we love so much from the Baguette Box tofu banh mi; and the salty bite of soy. I added bean sprouts to provide the crunch the French bread brings to the sandwich version and played up the ratio of veggies to tofu. This is a tasty, satisfying and slightly better-for-you version of a tofu banh mi, and it’s my new favorite noodle dish.

Rice Noodles with Tofu & Bahn Mi Vegetables (serves 2)

  • 4 oz. rice noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 4-6 oz. extra-firm tofu, pressed to release excess moisture, cut into 1″ cubes
  • cornstarch to dust tofu (1-2 T.)
  • 1 T. canola or grapeseed oil
  • 2 T. pickling liquid from the do chua (use 1 T. water & 1 T. rice vinegar if you don’t have the pickling liquid)
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • a dash of sriracha
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • half an avocado, sliced or diced
  • 1/3- 1/2 c. Vietnamese pickled carrots & daikon (do chua)
  • 1/2 c. mung bean sprouts

Cook the rice noodles according to package directions and set them aside.

In a large bowl, sprinkle the pressed, drained tofu pieces with cornstarch and toss to coat them evenly. In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat; add tofu and cook/stir-fry until golden brown, about 5-7 mins. When the tofu is browned to your preference, remove it to a cooling rack over a plate and allow the excess oil to drip off; alternately, you can pat it off with a paper towel.

In a small bowl, whisk together the pickling liquid, soy sauce, sriracha and sesame oil; set aside. In the same skillet you cooked the tofu in, toss the cooked rice noodles and the tofu with the pickling liquid mixture and warm everything through. Divide the noodles and tofu into two bowls; top with do chua, bean sprouts and avocado pieces. Serve warm.

*They’re bad for you if you eat them all, together, every day. No letters to the editor, please. 🙂