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Lemongrass Tofu with Asian Greens and Mung Bean Vermicelli

This salad is full of lemongrass goodness and fond memories for Neighbourhood author, Hetty McKinnon.

Lemongrass Tofu with Asian Greens and Mung Bean Vermicelli

I have a strong affection for lemongrass and not only because of its tropical, citrus scent and its potent medicinal qualities. Lemongrass also reminds me of the suburban Sydney house where I grew up. We always had lemongrass growing in our backyard and later, when we lived in Surry Hills, my mother supplied lemongrass cuttings that grew robustly in our community verge garden.

Serves 4-6 

600 g firm tofu, cut into 2 cm cubes
200 g mung bean vermicelli, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, halved and finely sliced
400 g mixed Asian greens (bok choy, choy sum and Chinese broccoli), cut into 5 cm pieces
2 cups Asian herb leaves (Thai basil, coriander, Chinese shallots, Vietnamese mint or perilla), finely sliced
1–2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
sea salt and white pepper

Lemongrass Marinade

4 lemongrass stalks, white parts only, very finely chopped
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
3 tablespoons kecap manis
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon red chilli flakes
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon caster sugar
pinch of sea salt

Option

For gluten free, use tamari in place of soy sauce

For the lemongrass marinade, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. The marinade can be made the day before and kept in the fridge until ready to use.

Add the tofu cubes to the marinade, turning to coat evenly, and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to cook, put the vermicelli in a large bowl and soak in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain, return to the bowl and season with a big pinch of salt, then pour over enough boiling water to cover and leave for 10–20 seconds to soften fully. Drain immediately and rinse under cold water.

In a large frying pan, heat the vegetable oil and add the onion.

Stir-fry the onion for 3–4 minutes until soft, then remove from the pan and set aside. Add the tofu to the pan along with the marinade and cook, moving the tofu pieces around with chopsticks or tongs, until golden brown all over. Return the onion to the pan along with the Asian greens and stir-fry for a further 1–2 minutes, until the greens are wilted.

Combine the tofu and greens with the mung bean vermicelli and herbs and drizzle over the olive oil. Toss together well, season with salt and white pepper and scatter over the peanuts to serve.

This is an edited extract from NEIGHBOURHOOD by Hetty McKinnon, published by Plum. RRP $39.99. You can purchase the book from our online store here

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