There is no doubt in my mind, that this noodle dish is a combination that gets me salivating every time. It is hot, fragrant, smoky and crispy. You could add a small handful of crushed unsalted peanuts if you wanted. Or prawns. Or chicken. Tonight it is sans everything with the exception of marinated smoked tofu, which is rapidly becoming one of my favourite ingredients.
Chop the tofu into chunks and marinade in dark soy sauce (about 25 ml) and a good squeeze of agave nectar. Then chop and slice your favourite stirfry ingredients – tonight it is spring onions, long red peppers, carrot, fennel, little slivers of spring green. Pound together two large cloves of garlic and a stick of lemongrass (if you look closely you can see mine has ice on it – it freezes really well) and a couple of red or green chillies and a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger (this also freezes well) and mix these ingredients with about 25ml rapeseed oil. Put 50ml fish sauce and 50ml tamarind concentrate in a saucepan with a couple of dessert spoons of agave nectar or brown sugar, bring to the boil and then take off the heat.
When you are ready to eat, pour boiling water over as many rice noodles as you want, leave them for just a couple of minutes and then drain and cool by running them under the tap. Whack the wok on the burner with a little oil in the bottom. When it is smoking, add the garlic/lemongrass/chilli and ginger. Stir it round for a couple of minutes then add all the vegetables. Keep them moving round in the wok all the time for just a couple of minutes then throw in the tofu with its marinade (or chicken or prawns and.or peanuts). Stir round again till hot, then add the fish sauce mixture or, as an alternative, 100ml coconut milk. Add the noodles last, mix gently whilst still on the heat. Pour into bowls, squeeze over some lime juice and chopped coriander leaf.
Head for the sofa with this steaming fragrant bowl of loveliness, a glass of beer and a good book. Bliss.