Tuck into a Vietnamese Curried Tofu Noodle Bowl – so fresh and delicious. Rice noodles and quick-pickled vegetables topped with pan-fried sweet and salty curried tofu, drizzled with a spicy maple lime dressing.
These Vietnamese inspired Curried Tofu Noodle Bowls are perfect for when you want a fresh and light healthy meal. Which for me is every day during summer! These colorful vegan bowls are a cross between a Vietnamese Noodle Salad and a curry tofu bowl as they feature cooked cold vermicelli rice noodles, pan-fried curried tofu, lettuce, and veggies, and a refreshing spicy maple lime dressing.
Even though there are several elements to making a tofu noodle bowl, there is very little work involved. We just want to remember to press the tofu! Marinating it is not necessary as we simply pan-fry the pressed tofu wedges along with a sweet and salty curry sauce.
The pickled veggies can be made in advance and stored in the fridge. The pickling process is super easy. In fact, they are done in an hour or two and last weeks when stored in the fridge. Make lots because they are the perfect side dish to burgers and an amazing addition to all your favorite bowls.
MORE DELICIOUS TOFU RECIPES FROM THE BLOG:
MORE BAKED TOFU
- Crispy Breaded Tofu
- Chili Garlic Baked tofu
- Spiced Baked tofu for Butter Tofu
- Orange Tofu
- Cajun Tofu
- Peanut Butter Tofu
PAN FRIED TOFU
- Curried Tofu for Banh Mi
- Sticky Sesame tofu
- Palak Tofu Paneer
- Tofu Lalabdar – Tofu with Creamy Tomato ginger sauce
Vietnamese inspired Curried Tofu Summer Bowl
For the curried tofu:
- 14 ounces (400 g) firm or extra firm tofu pressed for at least 15 minutes then cubed or sliced into preferred shapes
- 1 -2 teaspoon curry powder use less or more to preference
- 1.5 teaspoon soy sauce use tamari for gluten-free
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup or sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons coconut cream scoop out the thick part of the coconut cream from full fat coconut milk can
For the pickled vegetables:
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) rice wine vinegar or use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- 1/3 cup (90) hot water
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 2 cups thinly sliced vegetables such as carrots cucumber, radish, red bell pepper, onion
For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon sambal oelek or Asian chili garlic sauce
- a good pinch of salt and pepper
- 8 Oz pack (12 oz) cooked vermicelli rice noodles
- Chopped mint and cilantro
- Chopped lettuce
- lime wedges
- Pickle the vegetables: Combine the vinegar, water, salt, sugar in a mason jar and mix well.
- Add in the vegetables and press down so that everything is submerged. close the lid and refrigerate for an hour.
- Make the curried tofu: Slice the tofu into at least 1/2 an inch thick slices.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat or any thick bottom skillet. Add oil and spread.
- When the oil is hot, add the tofu slices carefully. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side so that some of the sides are golden.
- Mix the sauce ingredients in the coconut cream and add to the pan. Mix and cook until the sauce thickens and coats the tofu.
- Flip the tofu slices midway so that all the sauce coats the tofu evenly. Take off heat.
- Make the dressing: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until well combined and set aside.
- Assemble your bowls: Add a good helping of lettuce and noodles, and the pickled vegetables to a serving bowl.
- Top it with some of the curried tofu. Add a bit of the dressing and some cilantro and mint. Add your lime wedge and serve.
- To store, store the tofu, noodles and veggies separately and assemble as needed
- Quick curry powder: mix 1 tsp ground coriander, 3/4 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, generous pinch of cinnamon, mustard, black pepper and cayenne
- Add some roasted nuts for additional crunch
- For gluten-free use tamari instead of soy sauce
- tofu – use firm or extra firm tofu for the recipe. Make sure to press it (see below) before cubing it.
- the pan-frying sauce for the tofu is a mix of curry powder, soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder and coconut cream
- quick pickles are made by simple immerging sliced veggies in a mix of rice vinegar, maple syrup, water, and salt.
- vermicelli noodles – cooked and cooled, they can be cooked in advance.
- lettuce – use your favorite kind. I used romaine but any spring mix any leafy greens, or even shredded cabbage will do
- fresh herbs: mint and cilantro are my go-tos and give these bowls an authentic Vietnamese touch
- For the sauce use as much or as little curry powder as you want. If you don’t have curry powder, use garam masala or Chinese 5 spice.
- For gluten-free use tamari instead of soy sauce
How to make this Tofu Noodle Bowl recipe:
Make the quick-pickled veggies:
In a mason jar, stir together vinegar, water, salt, and maple syrup. Add in the vegetables and press down so that everything is submerged.
You can close the lid and refrigerate for an hour.
Make the curried tofu:
Make sure you press the tofu (see below). Slice the pressed tofu into at least 1/2 an inch thick slices. Cubes would also work but I like to cut it into thinner triangles to create more surface for the curry sauce to stick to. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add oil and spread.
When the oil is hot, add the tofu slices carefully making sure not to break off any edges. It will get more sturdy as it fries. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side so that some of the sides are golden.
In the meantime, mix the sauce ingredients with the coconut cream and add everything to the pan.
Mix and cook until the sauce thickens and coats the tofu. Flip the tofu slices midway so that all the sauce coats the tofu evenly.
Take the pan off the heat.
Make the dressing. Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until well combined and set aside.
Assemble your bowls.
Add a good helping of lettuce and noodles, and the pickled vegetables to a serving bowl. Top it with some of the curried tofu.
Add a bit of the dressing and some cilantro and mint. Add your lime wedge and serve.
PRESS THE TOFU:
Open a package of tofu and drain. Cut the tofu width-wise into slices — four or six should do it. Now, lay some paper towels on a sheet pan and spread your tofu slices in a single layer on top. Put more paper towels over the tofu, then another sheet pan over them.
Place heavy objects on the sheet pan ( cookbooks or cans of tomatoes or beans work). Leave to press for at least 15 minutes, but preferably longer. You can leave it like this all day or overnight if you have room for it in the fridge. If you’re in a hurry, apply some good old manual pressure to cut the time down. After pressing, uncover and cut into cubes.
This Noodle Tofu Bowl is best enjoyed fresh, but you can store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. I recommend you to store the tofu, noodles, and salad separately. The tofu tastes fine cold but you can quickly reheat it in the microwave or in a saucepan.