If you read my ramble this morning, you won’t be surprised to discover that tonight’s dinner comes from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen. I’ve made the panfried stuffed tofu exactly as the recipe specifies, which is a rarity for me. Due to a tomato shortage courtesy of yesterday’s bolognese extravaganza, I have omitted the tomato sauce and made the simple dipping sauce (dried chillies instead of fresh, once again thanks to the bolognese) and on the side I have made garlicky rice stick noodles inspired by the recipe for Garlicky Noodles with Maggi and Butter. I’m a little scared of what night be contained in Maggi Seasoning Sauce but curious enough to check next time I come across a bottle. I would have loved to make several dishes and created a real Vietnamese feast but the tofu made enough for a whole meal. More would have been gluttony. Of course, there is nothing authentic about this meal for the simple reason that there is no rice. But hey, I’m not Vietnamese, I can do as I please!

Panfried Stuffed Tofu with Simple Dipping Sauce and Garlicky Rice Stick
Dipping Sauce
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon fish sauce
a sprinkle of dried chillies
Combine and serve to dip tofu into.
Stuffed Tofu & Noodles
200g diced pork, chopped until almost minced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 dried shitake mushrooms, reconstituted and finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 teaspoons water
1 large block of regular or medium tofu
oil for frying
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
large dob butter
rice stick noodles

To make the filling, in a small bowl, combine pork, spring onion, mushroom, egg, fish sauce, pepper and cornstarch.
Cut tofu into pieces approx. 1/2 inch thick and 2 1/4 inches square. Cut into the side of each piece to form a pocket and gently stuff with filling to about 1/4 inch thick. Pat tofu dry with paper towel to remove as much excess moisture as possible.
Preheat oven to about 100 degrees to keep tofu warm as it cooks. Heat oil in the bottom of a large pan. Fry tofu in batches for 4 – 6 minutes per side (until browned). Once they are cooked, keep warm in the oven while the rest cook. Meanwhile, cook the rice stick noodles, drain and toss in garlic butter.
Serve tofu on noodles with dipping sauce on the side. Garnish with Vietnamese herbs.