Lisa Lin's Sambal Noodles With Pan-Fried Tofu

December  4, 2019
4 Ratings
Photo by Lisa Lin
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

These sambal noodles are tossed in a spicy and tangy sauce that consists of tomatoes, sambal oelek, and coconut milk. For a complete meal, serve the noodles with pan-fried tofu. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • Tofu
  • 16 ounces super firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • Sambal noodles and sauce
  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons sambal oelek, depending on your desired level of spice
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 10 ounces rice noodles
  • 1 handful sliced scallions for garnish
  1. Tofu
  2. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch slices. Then, cut them in half to get 2 smaller rectangles. Finally, take each rectangle and slice them diagonally to get small tofu triangles (see note 3).
  3. Heat a nonstick skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add half the tofu to the skillet. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the tofu. Pan fry the tofu for 3 to 4 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown. Then, flip over the tofu and pan fry the other side for another 3 minutes. Transfer the pan-fried tofu to a plate.
  4. Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet and pan fry the remaining tofu.
  5. Turn off the heat and transfer the first batch of tofu back to the skillet. Set the tofu aside while you cook the noodles and sauce.
  1. Sambal noodles and sauce
  2. While you pan fry the tofu, start cooking the noodles. In a large saucepan or pot, bring 2 to 3 quarts of water to boil. Add the rice noodles and cook them according to the package directions (I cooked mine for 5 to 6 minutes). Stir the noodles frequently to keep them from sticking together.
  3. Once the noodles are cooked, drain the noodles and rinse them under cold water (see note 4).
  4. For the sauce, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook them for about 2 to 3 minutes, until they soften. Next, add the minced ginger and garlic, and cook them for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, sambal oelek, brown sugar, salt, and coriander to the skillet. Stir to combine. Cover the skillet with a lid, and let the sauce simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. Uncover the skillet, add the coconut milk, and stir to combine.
  6. Scoop out 1/3 cup of the sauce and toss it with the tofu.
  7. Add the rice noodles to the remaining sauce and toss to coat the noodles with the sauce. Turn off the heat.
  8. Serve the noodles with the tofu. Garnish with sliced scallions, if desired.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Irene Van Nostrand
    Irene Van Nostrand
  • Megan
  • natalie

3 Reviews

Irene V. August 16, 2022
Enjoyed this recipe. I make my tofu a day before so I have it on hand for meals. The rest of the recipe made for an easy, tasty weeknight meal. One even commented that it was “slurp-a-licious!” Will definitely make it again.
Megan May 6, 2020
Very nice. We didn't have tofu but subbed in some odds and ends that needed to get used up-broccoli, a little shrimp, etc. Added cilantro. A keeper!
natalie December 16, 2019
This was excellent!!! I subbed tofu for chicken that we pan seared then let finish cooking in the sauce as well as added a lot of chopped cilantro and more sambal than called for. Deliciousness! Doubles easy as well.