This savory, heady combination is reminiscent of Szechuan pork noodles, but believe me, you will not miss the meat. The contrast of flavors and temperatures makes this dish especially satisfying. It keeps well if made ahead of time, intensifying in flavor. These noodles are excellent hot, cold, or room temperature. —Nathalie Nicole
Test Kitchen Notes
This gem of a recipe is quick, simple, and delightfully full of flavor. It also came together with mostly pantry staples plus a quick stop in the produce aisle for one or two items. The cool, crisp cucumber salad can stand all on its own, but serves as a perfect counterpoint to the silky, spicy noodles. —chezjewels
For the cucumber salad:
large Persian cucumber, diced
cloves minced garlic
rice wine vinegar
grapeseed oil (or other neutral tasting oil)
toasted sesame oil
For the noodles:
(16-ounce) box fettuccine noodles (or other thick wheat noodle)
toasted sesame oil
extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 1/2 tablespoons
Chinese five-spice powder (optional)
sliced shiitake mushrooms
large shallot, finely diced
inch knob of ginger, finely chopped
cloves garlic, finely chopped
soy sauce or Bragg's liquid aminos
chili sauce (I used Sriracha)
agave nectar (or honey)
broth of choice
sliced scallions, for garnish
In This Recipe
Salt the diced cucumber and allow it to sit in a tea towel-lined colander for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the noodles according to package directions. Once drained, toss them with the sesame oil. Wrap the towel around the cucumber and gently squeeze out some liquid. Combine cucumber with the remaining salad ingredients in a bowl and set it aside in the refrigerator.
Crumble the tofu into a mixing bowl and combine with the cornstarch and five spice powder. Coat the bottom of a wok or frying pan with peanut oil and heat on high until it’s almost smoking. Brown the tofu, stirring continuously, until it resembles cooked, ground meat. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside; don't clean the pan.
Add the mushrooms, shallots, ginger, and garlic to the pan, using more oil if necessary. Lower the heat to medium and sauté until the mushrooms are golden and the shallots are slightly caramelized. Add the soy sauce, chili sauce, and agave nectar. Return the tofu to the pan. Add the broth to the mixture and cook for an additional minute, stirring to combine.
Toss the mixture with the noodles and scallions. Top with cucumber salad.