Thai Style Peanut Sauce with Pan Fried Tofu & Noodles

I have an obscure confession to make. I’ve never eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before. Better yet, I’ve never so much as purchased a jar of peanut butter for my own consumption. Ever 🤪! I was always a ham and cheese sandwich kind-of-kid growing up and preferred Bits & Bites over peanuts for snacking so looking back it makes sense, but not exactly fitting considering I live in a household with a peanut butter “pundit”. Since I met Janik peanut butter has been a staple in our household as the perfect companion for toast…especially to fuel his early morning runs. Since I’ve started experimenting with the likes of WOW butter (for the kids’ lunches) and cashew butter (for baking) I’ve been entertaining the thought of creating a recipe with peanut butter. I’m thrilled to say I’ve transitioned from peanut butter ambivalence to peanut butter fervor after developing this recipe. Today I’m excited to share this recipe for Thai Style Peanut Sauce with Pan Fried Tofu & Noodles.

Please don’t be fooled by the long list of ingredients. Aside from a little prep work (mincing garlic, chopping vegetables and the like) this recipe requires throwing ingredients in a mixing bowl and combining. Yes, it’s that easy 🙂. Since it took me a few decades to take a kick at cooking with peanut butter I decided to go “all in” with this recipe and incorporate peanut butter into both the tofu marinade as well as the creamy drench-your-noodles-in sauce. The tofu marinade calls for peanut butter (of course) blended with crushed garlic, sesame oil, tamari sauce and maple syrup. The marinade is peanutty enough to know it’s there but delicate enough to appreciate the sweet undertones of the maple syrup and savoury dimension thanks to the crushed garlic, sesame oil and tamari sauce. Once pan fried the tofu is simply delicious (so much so that the kids devoured it all without even touching the noodles).

This peanut sauce really puts the NUT in peanut. All of us went NUTS for this rich and creamy sauce with a delicate nutty flavour. The use of curry powder, ginger powder and dried basil adds a fresh burst of flavour to the sauce while the brown sugar, tamari sauce, rice vinegar and lime juice combine to give the sauce a delightful savoury dimension. In fact, I was surprised at how eager I was to pour the sauce over my noodles – it’s that good 😊.

Tossing the sauce-covered noodles and pan-fried tofu with a medley of sautéed veggies (I used carrots and sweet bell peppers) and sesame seeds adds vibrant, bold colour to this dish and adds a wonderland of textures to this exciting dish. Crushed peanuts and/or fresh cilantro would also cap off this dish nicely.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did! If you’re looking for other Asian-inspired meal ideas check out our Orange Ginger Sauce with Crusted Tofu & Quinoa!

Enjoy~

Recipe Preparation

  • 1/Prepare marinade and let tofu strips sit in marinade for 30 minutes.
    Tip: If possible, flip tofu strips to allow both sides to soak up the marinade.
  • 2/Cook noodles of choice as directed (I used vermicelli in my test kitchen but thin pasta such as angel hair or linguini could be used)
  • 3/Preheat a skillet to medium-high heat; drizzle olive oil on the heated skillet. Sauté thinly sliced carrots and sweet bell pepper slices (and/or other vegetables of choice) until tender and golden brown.

Tofu Marinade Ingredients

  • 2 pkgs medium-firm tofu (350g per package)
  • 3 Red Russian garlic cloves (15g) or 5-6 regular garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil (25g)
  • 1/3 cup tamari sauce (90g)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (100g)
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter (65g)

Tofu Marinade Instructions

  • 1/Rinse each block of tofu in cold water. Using a dry tea towel wrap each block of tofu and squeeze to release as much water as possible.
  • 2/Once pressed, cut each tofu block into cubes.  Select a shallow baking dish that will fit your tofu cubes in a single layer without touching.
  • 3/Place garlic in your Thermomix bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 7. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
    Important: Insert the butterfly whisk attachment to the Thermomix mixing blade before starting Step 4
  • 4/Add the remaining ingredients (sesame oil through peanut butter) to the TM bowl. Whisk 45 sec/Speed 3. Important: Remove the butterfly whisk attachment from the Thermomix mixing blade before starting Step 5
  • 5/Transfer the marinade from the TM mixing bowl into the shallow baking dish containing your cubed tofu. You want to coat as much of the surface as possible so the tofu can soak in the flavour! Let the tofu sit for 30 minutes (room temperature is fine).

Peanut Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, halved (140g)
  • 3 Red Russian garlic cloves (20g) or 5-6 regular garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil (25g)
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder (<5g)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger (<5g)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil (<5g)
  • 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter (100g)
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar (25g)
  • 1 Tbsp tamari sauce (15g)
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (15g)
  • 1 tsp lime juice (5g)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (Tip: Dissolve 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder in 1 cup boiling water for a quick and easy broth!)
  • 1 tsp tapioca flour (<5g)

Peanut Sauce Instructions

  • 1/Add onion and garlic to your Thermomix mixing bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 7. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
  • 2/Add sesame oil to the TM bowl. Sauté 3 min/120C/Speed 1.
  • 3/Add curry powder, ginger powder and dried basil to the TM bowl. Blend 30 sec/Speed 5. Important: Insert the butterfly whisk attachment to the Thermomix mixing blade before starting Step 4
  • 4/Add peanut butter, brown sugar, tamari sauce, rice vinegar and lime juice to the TM bowl. Whisk 45 sec/Speed 3. Important: Remove the butterfly whisk attachment from the Thermomix mixing blade before starting Step 5
  • 5/Add vegetable broth and tapioca flour. Blend 10 sec/Speed 5.
  • 6/Replace lid with simmering basket. Simmer 3 min/80C/Speed 1. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. If you prefer a thicker sauce add more tapioca flour and simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes. Repeat until desired consistency is reached.

Assembly Ingredients

  • Marinated tofu cubes (recipe above)
  • Peanut sauce (recipe above)
  • Noodles (of your choice)
  • Sautéed vegetables (of your choice)

Assembly Instructions

  • 1/Transfer the marinated tofu (including marinade) to a skillet on medium-high heat. Pan fry the tofu until well cooked and crispy (the darker the better!)
    Important: Pan fry in batches (I divided the tofu in half) so you avoid overcrowding the skillet. Batch frying will yield better results!
  • 2/Pour the prepared peanut sauce over plated noodles. Top with sautéed vegetables and pan-fried tofu cubes. Garnish with sesame seeds, fresh cilantro and/or crushed peanuts (optional). Serve immediately.

Note: This recipe was made using a Thermomix appliance; however, it can easily be adapted using similar food prep tools (e.g. multi-function processor, immersion blender etc).

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