Vietnamese Vermecelli Lemongrass Tofu Noodle Bowls
One of my favorite places to eat in Seattle is Monsoon, am unassuming resturaunt located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The staff is great and the food even better. My favorite dish there is "wokked lemongrass tofu." I love it so much that I ended up trying to replicate this for the better part of winter. It's not at the Monsoon level (see below), but I'm getting pretty darn close. I've merged together and altered to my own taste. Feel free to adjust as you see fit.
2- 1 pound containers of firm tofu (cut into 3/4 inch cubes)
2 stalk Lemongrass (use only the lower root portion of the lemongrass stalk)
2 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1½ Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Palm Sugar
Nuoc Cham Sauce:
1/4 cup fish sauce
4 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 cup water
2 garlic cloves , finely chopped
1 red birdseye chilli , finely chopped
3 tbsp lime juice
6 oz Rice Vermicelli Noodles (prefer the thicker noodles)
1 head Romaine Lettuce, chopped
1 medium Carrot, thin matchsticks
1 medium Cucumber, thin matchsticks
¼ cup Chopped Peanuts, roasted and unsalted
1 small bunch Fresh Cilantro
1 small bunch Fresh Mint
2 Tbsp Oil, canola, peanut or vegetable
1 medium red onion
1/2 pound of sliced shitake mushrooms
Prepare the lemongrass: Peel the tough outer layers off to reveal the softer white part on the bottom ~1/3 of the lemongrass. Bruise using the back of the knife (see video). Don't slice too finely or finely chop, you want the pieces large enough so you can just brush them off (lemongrass is kind of tough, it has to be very finely chopped / cooked for a long time to eat).
Marinate Tofu: Combine all ingredients listed under Lemongrass Tofu and pour over tofu. Marinate for at least 1 hour, up to a day is preferred.
Make Nuoc Cham: Whisk together water, sugar and lime juice. Add fish sauce and chilis to taste.
Put marinated tofu on baking sheets and roast for 45-60 mins. Tofu should be golden brown and slightly crispy. If you have an air fryer, you can do both batches in 30 mins, depending on the size of your fryer. Keep the marinade on the side.
Slice onions into larger chunks. Add to the wok and let it carmelize a bit before adding in all the shitake mushrooms. Lightly coat the onions and mushrooms with the leftover marinade.
Once the tofu is done, mix with the onions and mushrooms.
Cook noodles according to package direction (most need to soak in very hot water just until tender).
Prepare lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, and peanuts. Tear cilantro and mint leaves off their stalks and roughly chop the herbs.
Assemble bowls with lettuce and then noodles. Top with all remaining ingredients and enjoy with Nuoc Cham on the side or poured over the top.