Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls

Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls - Eat Cho Food

I don't think I encountered a single vegetable this past weekend. Okay, there were some magical ramps on a pizza Reuben made on Sunday and I may have made a basic salad to accompany the pizza so we wouldn't die. Do mixed greens out of bag even count as a vegetable though? We had a very indulgent weekend of dumplings, pizza, mochi cake, beer, and park snacks. Every once in a awhile Reuben and I will break out of our homebody comfy clothes and actually go outside to a park to socialIzen’s with other people. There were even strangers there! GASP. Despite our tendency to grumble like we are 80 years old on the drive over to the park full of young people on blankets, we had a wonderful sunny time catching up with old friends and coworkers that I see everyday! 

Oh! Oh! I also want to tell you that I'm hosting my very first dumpling workshop! It's going to be a blast! If you also live in the Bay Area or really love dumplings and are willing to travel for them, you can grab yourself a seat at my workshop under the shop tab of this website! It's going to be sort of intimate since it will be my first time teaching, so hurry up and get a spot while they last! I was practicing my pleats again this weekend and thinking through how I would explain all the steps and intricacies of making dumplings to a real life human. I think I have a good plan though! This blog, Instagram, and the internet in general is fun or whatever, but what I really really really love is feeding people in real life. I just can't wait to make enough dumplings to feed an army with some new friends!

Alright, enough dumpling talk. Let's talk noods! And vegetables because I desperately need those back in my life. A variation of this noodle bowl is on constant rotation in our house. It's so quick and easy to make. Plus you can literally throw in whatever vegetable or protein you have on hand. The overall flavor guidelines of this bowl are inspired by Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowls or Bun Bo Xao. So think salty, sour, sweet, and a little funky. Don't be afraid of fish sauce! It adds such wonderful flavor. Both the tofu and cabbage are crisped up in the oven together. The tofu gets a nice crunchy texture with the help of some draining beforehand and a much needed flip in the middle of the baking process. Red cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables at the moment. It's so versatile and lasts a super long time in the refrigerator. You can eat it raw in a slaw or quickly sautéed it in a pan, but my absolute favorite way to cook it is by cutting thick slices of cabbage and roasting them in the oven at a high heat. The cabbage caramelizes and crisps in the oven and it's the most wonderful thing! 

What really ties this whole bowl of freshness and goodness together is the dressing! It's a blend of fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and Brightland Awake Olive Oil. The Awake olive oil is delicious and has a really unique flavor in my opinion. When tasting it on it's own it starts off fruity and then you get a really strong and almost peppery flavor, which works beautifully with the sour, sweet, and funky flavors from the other dressing ingredients! Brightland Olive Oil has some of the most beautiful packaging too! Like, just look at that bottle! You'll want to display it on your counter all the time. I also love that their oil is sourced all in California (probably not that far from me actually) and they value pure and honest food production. You know you’re getting the good stuff!

Enjoy the rest of your week and enjoy the fresh noods!


Crispy Tofu and Cabbage Noodle Bowls

serves 2

materials:

1 block firm tofu
½ head of red cabbage
8oz rice noodles
Brightland Awake Olive Oil
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt + Pepper
1 large carrot - peeled into ribbons or shredded
Crushed cashews or peanuts - optional
Sesame seeds - optional
Thai basil leaves - optional
Lime wedges - for garnish

dressing Materials:

Juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp rice vinegar
¼ cup Brightland Awake Olive Oil
Pinch of salt

steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut tofu into small pieces, about 1” cubes. Place tofu on a baking tray lined with paper towels and cover the top of the tofu with more paper towels. Press down on the tofu and allow the tofu to drain for at least 15 minutes. This extra step will help insure an extra crispy texture!

  2. Cut red cabbage into 3/4” slices, try to keep each slice intact. Brush a baking tray with 2 tsp of olive oil. Place cabbage on the oiled tray and season with ½ tsp of salt, few cracks of black pepper, sesame oil, and another 2 tsp of olive oil. Rub all the seasonings into the tops of the cabbage slices. Set aside.

  3. Remove tofu from tray and discard paper towels. Brush baking tray with 2 tsp of olive oil. Place tofu on the oiled tray and season with ½ tsp salt, few cracks of black pepper, and another 2 tsp of olive oil. Place tray of tofu and cabbage in the oven and bake for 38-45 minutes. Flip the tofu halfway through. The cabbage will caramelize and the tofu will crisp up.

  4. While the tofu and cabbage are baking, prepare your rice noodles according to the package directions. Once cooked, drain and rinse under cold water. Set noodles aside.

  5. To make dressing, whisk together lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, olive oil, and salt in a small bowl or jar. Set aside.

  6. To assemble, place a bundle of noodles in a bowl and top with tofu, cabbage, carrots, cashews, sesame seeds, and a few basil leaves. Squeeze a lime wedge over the noodles, add dressing, and give everything a good mix. Enjoy!

Crab Salad Tostadas

Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas

Hi, friends! How is Fall treating you? Isn't it crazy how after a long Labor Day weekend spent outdoors, gardening, cleaning, sleeping in, bbq-ing, and fantasy footballing, that it all of a sudden feels like pumpkin spice and sweater season?? San Francisco doesn't really have seasons, except our Indian Summer should be starting soon... I don't know though. This past week has been chilly and the sun is leaving us way too early in the day. This seasonal change does allow me to breakout all the cozy blanket sweaters I've been antsy to wear again! I'll take any opportunity to wear a blanket out in public. The autumnal equinox is not until September 22nd though! So we still technically have a few more days of Summer! That is plenty of time to squeeze in a couple more tomato toasts and to buy all the pluots at the farmer's market. Have you had a pluot?! I feel like I'm always talking about them on Instagram, but I'm seriously obsessed. It's the best fruit and one of the things I miss most about summer. Sorry, I know this is not a pluot blog.

Should we talk about crab salad? When I was a little 90s kid, my mom would make crab salad with imitation crab meat and serve it up with buttery club crackers and it was the most amazing snack! I can't remember the last time my mom actually made crab salad. But I'm going to call her and tell her she needs to soon. It's so good! I don't know if imitation crab meat was just super popular in the 90s and early 00s and then sort of disappeared from the culinary limelight in recent time, but it needs to come back out! When we were in Mexico City a few weeks back, we saw surimi (fancy way of saying imitation crab) salad tostadas at a whole bunch of places. We didn't actually order it, only because I felt like we need to be adventurous in Mexico and order things like octopus. At the tostada stalls, they would display the crab salad as a mini mountain of crab. It was so glorious and temping... I couldn't shake it from my head. So when we got home I wanted to try recreating the concept but use the nostalgic flavors I remember from the 90s.

It turns out crab salad is stupid easy to make. All it consists of is crab, mayo, onions, salt and pepper. It really is that simple. I wanted to make my life more difficult though, so I made mayo from scratch! Making your mayo makes such a huge difference in this recipe! I added a bit of lemon juice and grated in fresh garlic, which just takes it up a level. It's totally fine if you just use store bought mayo! Just make sure it is fresh. The crab salad is super creamy with a slight crunch from the onions. Then it's plops on top of a super crispy fried tortilla with a slice of avocado. The combo of everything makes for such a great textural contrast and flavor symphony. It's like an elevated crab salad and club cracker snack. Gosh, I could have ate a million of these tostadas! If our indian summer does show up, I'll definitely be whipping up another full tray of these. Thankfully I have blanket sweaters to hide under : ) 

Thanks a ton to Louis Kemp for sponsoring this post and rekindling my love of crab salad - I'm obessed!


Crab Salad Tostadas

makes 12 small tostadas - serves 4

materials:

2 8oz packages of Louis Kemp Flake Imitation Crab
1/2 cup mayonnaise (link to homemade recipe)
3 tbsp finely diced red onion + extra for garnish
2 green onion stalks chopped (white and green parts) + extra for garnish
1/4 tsp salt - adjust per taste, amount varies depending on mayo used
dash of white pepper
dash of cayenne
1 avocado halved and sliced
12 small corn tortillas
canola oil for frying

limes for garnish
microgreens or cilantro for garnish  

steps:

1. Place crab meat in a medium bowl. Break up the flakes into smaller pieces with your hands. Add in mayonnaise, red onion, and green onions. Give it a good mix. Season with salt, white pepper, and cayenne. Give it another good mix and then cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

2. While the crab salad is chilling, fry up your tortillas. Pour canola oil into a skillet, enough that you have about an inch of oil. Heat over medium high heat. You want it hot enough that the tortillas sizzle immediately as they hit the oil. Place tortillas in the hot oil and fry up for 1 minute on each side. Place fried tortillas on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

3. Assemble your tostadas. Place a scoop of crab salad on a tostada. Place a slice of avocado on top. Garnish with some red onions, green onions and micro greens. Squeeze a bit of lime juice on top and enjoy!

Crab Salad Tostadas