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!

Crystal Mushroom Dumplings

Crystal Mushroom Dumplings // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/20/crystal-mushroom-dumplings Gluten Free
Crystal Mushroom Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Crystal Mushroom Dumplings // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/20/crystal-mushroom-dumplings Gluten Free
Crystal Mushroom Dumplings // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/20/crystal-mushroom-dumplings Gluten Free
Crystal Mushroom Dumplings // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/20/crystal-mushroom-dumplings Gluten Free
Crystal Mushroom Dumplings // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/20/crystal-mushroom-dumplings Gluten Free
Crystal Mushroom Dumplings // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/20/crystal-mushroom-dumplings Gluten Free
Crystal Mushroom Dumplings // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/20/crystal-mushroom-dumplings Gluten Free
Crystal Mushroom Dumplings // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/20/crystal-mushroom-dumplings Gluten Free
Crystal Mushroom Dumplings // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/20/crystal-mushroom-dumplings Gluten Free

Eeeeeeek! Our Chinese New Year party is this weekend! Are you inviting over your whole neighborhood for a feast? Or maybe just going over to your parents’ house for dinner? I love Chinese New Year so much and I always get a little sentimental around this time of year. Who am I kidding… I’m always sentimental. When I think of CNY I think of my family, a table filled with food, hopeful spirits, and hearts overflowing with generosity. Everything that I love. I start to feel a little blue though because I actually haven’t been able to spend CNY with my family in like 5 years. San Francisco can feel SO FAR from Cleveland sometimes. In order to prevent myself from becoming a leaking soup dumpling, I try to make sure we celebrate this wonderful holiday with some friends each year!

In years past, we’ve either gone out for dinner with a group of pals for an easy peasy celebration or pull off a Thanksgiving caliber cooking production and make big feast with all the classics. There are always dumplings, noodles, and a giant pot of steamed rice involved. You may also find a beautiful steamed fish, some juicy roast duck, or a crispy pork belly on the table. Oh, and probably a plate of Chinese broccoli or pea shoots tossed in oyster sauce for HEALTH. This year, our dinner celebration will be a little different, because we weren’t keeping track of how many people we invited… at this point about 40 people are coming over. OMG. I unfortunately do not have a 100 foot long dining table… yet. So we’re going to take a different approach with the food this year and make everything a little more party friendly!

Here is my tentative menu below:

Asian Crudité Platter with Sesame Dipping Sauce and/or Charred Scallion Ranch Dip

Medley of Asian Snacks from my childhood - think shrimp chips and all the rice crackers

Chili Oil Popcorn

Build Your Own Bao Station - Steamed baos with an assortment of fillings like cucumbers, kimchi, fried tofu, and tasty sauces

A Chop Shop - where Reuben will be chopping bits of roast duck and pork for people to munch on or tuck into their bao

BBQ buns - I’m going to cheat and get these from Good Luck Dim Sum haha

Garlic Noodles - this recipe x1000000

Charred Veggie Glass Noodles - I’m working on making this recipe for a blog post!

Cho Family’s Classic Potstickers - not sharing this recipe until I get a book deal : )))))

These here Crystal Mushroom Dumplings!

Chocolate and Oolong Tea Petite Fours - experimenting with this as a blog recipe. Serving my test batches that are napping in the freezer right now

Persimmons and Whipped Cream

Maybe some Marco Polo gelato if Alex pulls through for me!

Do you think that’s enough food? I hope it’s enough food. We can order some pizzas if people are still hungry.

These Crystal Mushroom Dumplings were created for my vegetarian and also gluten free friends! I love crystal dumplings so much because they have such a great chewy texture. Something that I love so much! Plus the wrappers are naturally gluten free, which I think also makes you feel like you can fit a million more dumplings in your belly. Mushrooms are probably my favorite vegetarian dumpling filling. They still taste meaty and have a texture that holds up in the dumpling. When you read the recipe you will notice that there are cashews in there. If you think that’s weird, it’s not. All sorts of nuts are really common ingredients in Chinese dumplings, especially in vegetarian dumplings. They add a bit of protein and a nice crunch to the otherwise chewy dumpling. If you’re allergic nuts, just omit them and maybe add a few more mushrooms in the filling to compensate. Or even crispy fried garlic would be a great flavor and texture substitute!

Alright, friends. I need to start prepping and getting ready for the big day! I’m very grateful for freezers right now. HAPPY ALMOST CHINESE NEW YEAR! Invite all your friends over for dinner! Any maybe that person you want to be friends with too! There is always room at the table during Chinese New Year!


Crystal Mushroom Dumplings

makes 32 dumplings

mushroom filling :

1lb mushrooms (I used a blend of shiitakes and oyster mushrooms)
3 green onions - chopped
3 garlic cloves - minced
1/2 tsp salt
heavy dash of white pepper
2tbsp butter
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup finely chopped cashews
2 tsp dark soy
1/2 tsp sesame oil

crystal dumpling wrapper:

1 1/2 cup wheat starch
pinch of salt
1 cup just boiled water
3 tsp olive oil

steps:

  1. To make your filling, start by washing and cleaning your mushrooms. Roughly chop the mushrooms into 1/2” to 1” pieces. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and melt your butter. Add in mushrooms, minced garlic cloves, the whites of the green onions, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes. At first a lot of liquid will cook out of the mushrooms, but after 7-8 minutes the water should have mostly evaporated and the mushrooms are a little caramelized. Remove mushrooms from the pan and place in a bowl to cool.

  2. Once mushrooms have cooled to room temperature. Add in cornstarch, dark soy, sesame, cashews, and the greens of the green onions. Mix until combined. Taste and season with a bit more salt or pepper if necessary. Set filling aside.

  3. Start by making your dough. Add wheat starch and salt into a large bowl. Give it a quick mix. Make a well in the middle of the wheat starch. Slowly pour in the just boiled water and gently mixed in the wheat starch with a wooden spoon until the water is absorbed. It will still look dry and crumbly. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the wheat starch to steam for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes add in olive oil and start to knead the dough with your hands. Knead for a few minutes until you get a smooth dough. It will resemble playdough! If the dough feels a little dry add another teaspoon of olive oil. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for at least 10 minutes.

  4. Divide the dough in half. Roll out half the dough into a 1” coil and cut into 16 equal pieces. Do the same with the second half. Take 1 portion of dough and roll out into a 3” circle. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling into the wrapper. Carefully fold the dumpling like a taco in the form of a half circle. Pinch the seam tightly to seal. The dough feels fragile, but it’s also forgiving once steamed. Don’t worry if you have a few holes. Repeat with the remaining dumplings and place on a baking tray. Dust the tray with a bit of cornstarch to help them from sticking. Cover dumplings with a clean kitchen towel so they don’t dry out.

  5. Bring a pot of water to boil. Line a bamboo steamer (same width as your pot) with parchment paper (punched with holes) or cabbage leaves. Place a few dumplings in the steamer. Dumpling should not be touching. Place the steamer with lid on top of the pot and steam for 6-7 minutes. Repeat with remaining dumplings.

  6. Eat immediately and enjoy with soy sauce.

Instant Ramen Pasta Salad

Instant Ramen Pasta Salad
Instant Ramen Pasta Salad
Instant Ramen Pasta Salad
Instant Ramen Pasta Salad
Instant Ramen Pasta Salad
Instant Ramen Pasta Salad
Instant Ramen Pasta Salad
Instant Ramen Pasta Salad
Instant Ramen Pasta Salad

There are a lot of things in life that I am unsure about. Like where am I going to live in the next 5 years? Or do I actually enjoy mushrooms or do I just tolerate them? But there are also a handful of things in life that I am absolutely sure about. I want to live within a 7 hours drive from my family. And that Reuben is my soulmate because he tolerates my craziness and loves all the same foods that I do. AND my favorite food group is instant ramen and I could probably eat it every day for the rest of my life if I was forced to choose one thing and if sodium intake didn't really matter. I just love it so much!! I'm going to let you in on a little secret... I actually prefer instant ramen to real ramen. (GASP) Ah, I'm sorry! That makes me such a terrible foodie, right??? It's true though. I'm honestly not a fan of the really rich porky broths. It's a little too much for me. I've had ramen in a milky chicken broth and I was all about it! But a cheap 50 cent package of beef flavored ramen will always be my go-to if I need a quick and satisfying meal.

There was an intern at my office last Fall, who only ate instant ramen (oriental flavor… whatever that means!) and canned tuna on crackers for lunch. Every day. As much as her lack of vegetable intake concerned my internal grandma, I respected her lunch choices. I wish I had the courage to bring instant ramen in for lunch! But I’m pretty sure I would get judged hard by my coworkers and I’m also pretty sure I should eat more vegetables during the day.

I guess this recipe is a happy hybrid of that though! Pasta salad is my favorite type of salad because of the pasta, obviously. I like it heavy on the carbs. Light on the dressing. And the brighter the vegetables the better! I actually had ramen pasta salad before at a high school graduation party many many years ago. It was AWFUL. I remember being so excited that it existed and feeling so disappointed when I tasted it. The veggies and noodles were mushy and the dressing was so acidic it hurt. So disappointing. I’ve blocked it from my memory until now.

This pasta salad is the opposite of that dreaded Midwestern graduation pasta salad. The noodles are perfectly al dente, the dressing is something you will want to put on everything, and it’s full of the prettiest and freshest vegetables you can get your hands on. I used edamame, which you can pick up from the frozen section all year long, my beloved green onions, purple cabbage, and beautiful watermelon radishes. You could use regular radishes, but the watermelon radishes really jazz up the pasta salad and make it look like confetti! Whenever I find them at the store I pick one up to add a little hot pink to my avocado toast or the occasional salad. The beauty of this recipe, and all pasta salads really, is that it can be made in advance and it tastes better and better the longer it sits. Instant Ramen Pasta Salad is particularly quick to make because well, it’s instant!

PS. Should I change the name of this recipe to Instant Ramen Salad or keep it as Instant Ramen Pasta Salad? Tell me what to do!


Instant Ramen Pasta Salad

serves 6

Materials :

5 packages of instant ramen
1 cup blanched edamame
1 cucumber
1 watermelon radish
1 1/2 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage
2 green onions chopped - white and greens separated
 

Miso Ginger Dressing :

1 1/2 tbsp white miso paste
1 instant ramen soup mix package -  if it's a simple base like beef or chicken
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 garlic cloves
1" chunk of ginger
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt - use a little more if not using soup mix package

Recipes:

1. Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Place instant ramen noodles in the boiling water and boil or 2 minutes until the noodles are al dente. Remove noodles from hot water and immediately rinse with cold water. Drain noodles and set aside noodles in the fridge to chill.

2. Prepare all your veggies. Thinly slice a watermelon radish other on a mandolin or with a super sharp knife. Cut the cucumber into bite sized pieces. Thinly slice the purple cabbage and chop the green onion stalks. Set veggies aside.

3. Prepare your dressing by placing all the dressing ingredients in a food processor and blend for about 1 minute. If you don't have a food processor you can whisk all the liquids and seasoning together and grate in the ginger and garlic.

4. Take the noodles out of the fridge and toss the noodles with dressing so that everything is evenly coated. Mix in your veggies and enjoy!

* Salad can be made the day before and kept in the fridge for up to 4 days.