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Udon Noodles with Fried Tofu and Orange Nam Jim
Udon Noodles with Fried Tofu and Orange Nam Jim – serves 4
600g pre-cooked udon noodles
10g Thai basil leaves
3 scallions, finely sliced into long strips
10g coriander leaves, finely sliced
2 red chillies, finely sliced into long strips
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
FOR THE FRIED TOFU:
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 .5 tbsp sunflower oil
350g firm tofu, press to remove any water, pat dry, then cut into bite-sized pieces
FOR THE ORANGE NIM JAM:
0.5 tbsp basmati rice
0.75 tbsp Aleppo chilli flakes (or 1/3 tsp ordinary chilli flakes)
4-5 blood oranges or regular oranges – juice them to get 160ml of orange juice, then serve the dish with some orange wedges if you like
20g tamarind paste (if you make this from the block of tamarind you will need about 40g see method in note below)
2.5 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp soy sauce
40g banana shallot, finely diced
5g coriander, finely chopped
Start by marinating the tofu. Mix the garlic, soy sauce, maple syrup, 1 tbsp of sunflower oil and 0.25 tsp of salt in a dish that can hold the tofu pieces in a single layer.
Add the tofu and toss gently to coat in the marinade. Leave for 30 minutes to 1 hour, turning halfway through.
Next, make the nam jim. Put the rice into a small saucepan over a medium-high heat and toast for 2.5 minutes. Add the aleppo chilli and toast for another 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Transfer to a pestle and mortar and grind to a coarse powder. Put the ground rice mixture into a medium bowl, then add the orange juice, tamarind, fish sauce, maple syrup, soy sauce, shallot and coriander.
Mix together, then pour into a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat and cook gently for a couple of minutes, until warm.
Add the noodles and cook for 3 minutes, stirring. Remove the noodles and sauce from the pan and set aside while you fry the tofu, you want it at room temperature to serve.
Heat 1.5 tbsp of the oil in a large, non-stick pan over a medium-high heat until very hot, then add half the tofu, making sure it’s spaced apart.
Fry for 1.5 to 2 minutes on each side or until crispy and golden brown. Set aside while you fry the rest. Stir any remaining tofu marinade into the noodles.
Toss the basil, scallions, coriander leaves and chillies with the noodles, then transfer to a serving platter with a lip.
Serve with the tofu and sesame seeds on top. Serve with some orange wedges if you like.
NOTE: to make tamarind paste from a block mix a small piece, about 120g, with half this quantity, 60ml, of lukewarm water.
After a few minutes mix together again, adding a touch more water if you need so the pulp falls away from the seed.
Pass through a fine sieve. Can be stored in the fridge for up to a month.