Rice Noodle Bowls with Crispy Tofu

by jenna on February 10, 2012

End of the week check-in!

How are we all feeling? It’s been a good week here…lots of behind the scenes business going down. I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to turn my passion for food writing and blogging into a business, but as with any business, there’s a whole other side that goes unnoticed by most. Sure, I can work in my jammies if I want to (bonus of working from home!) and drink margaritas at four on a weekday (I never ever do this…ok maybe I do this…) but sometimes I have to put on my big girl business hat and grind it out. This has been one of those weeks!

In case I haven’t told you, my book is coming out September 4th!

I’m THRILLED, especially since it’s been three years in the making. Can you even believe it? I can’t. I just saw the cover for the first time last week and love it. I know I haven’t talked much about the book on the blog lately, so for those of you who don’t know, my book is a “culinary coming of age tale”—-basically, it’s a memoir of my time going through culinary school with recipes thrown into the mix. The name of the book is White Jacket Required. I can’t wait for you guys to read it!

I’m also working on a blog redesign, which will be officially launched in a couple months. That, too, has been a loooong time coming and it’s exciting to watch the process play out. I think you’re going to love it. Or at least, I hope you do!

Whew! Now that we got all that out of the way, let’s move on to tasty business.

After the last day of the cookbook shoot last week, Diane made everyone rice noodle bowls to celebrate while Todd was busy in the kitchen making the most addicting spicy sriracha garlic knots.

You know you love to cook when, after cooking all day for work, all you want to do is cook some more.

Anyways, the rice noodle bowls that Diane made were fabulous and exactly what we all were craving. The next day, I flew home to California with them still on my mind and so I decided to develop a recipe for my own…

These bowls feature oodles of rice noodles, veggies and crispy crunchy tofu! Dunking the little tofu triangles into a mixture of cornstarch and salt prior to frying keeps ’em crisp…kinda like the orange peel shrimp!

Then, I made a quick sauce for the bowls using soy sauce, fish sauce, ginger, sriracha (!) and maple syrup. I know…I know…it’s finally time to just bite the bullet and buy that bottle of fish sauce you’ve been avoiding for months.

Just do it.

Finally, I topped the bowls with fresh mint, cilantro, bean sprouts and roasted peanuts. The flavor combination was fabulous…I especially loved the crunch of the peanuts!

If tofu ain’t your thang, try grilled chicken or shrimp on top. I personally love the crispy tofu though.

Rice Noodle Bowls with Crispy Tofu

serves 4

Print this recipe!


2 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced

1 small head green cabbage, thinly sliced

2 cucumbers, sliced into half-moons

1 box rice noodles

3 green onions, minced

16 oz extra firm tofu, sliced into small triangles

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp oil

handful of roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

fresh mint, minced

fresh cilantro, minced

bean sprouts (about a handful per bowl)

for sauce—

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce

1/4 cup warm water

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp fresh minced ginger

2 tsp sriracha

2 tbsp maple syrup


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the rice noodles and turn off the heat. Let noodles sit in hot water for about five minutes, then drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Squeeze excess water from the noodles and set aside until serving.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat.

Combine the cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Dip each tofu triangle in the cornstarch then place in the hot skillet. Fry triangles for about four minutes per side, or until golden brown. Once done, remove carefully and place on paper towels to drain.

Now, make the sauce! Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well.

To assemble rice noodle bowls, place a mixture of rice noodles and cabbage in the bottom of each bowl. Top with bell pepper slices, cucumber, two tofu triangles, bean sprouts, green onions,  mint, cilantro and chopped peanuts.  Drizzle sauce over top or serve sauce alongside bowls.


30 minutes


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{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche February 10, 2012 at 3:28 am

This looks fantastic – tofu always intimidates me a bit but this looks so easy :)


Kristina LaRue February 10, 2012 at 3:30 am

ohhh. Thank you so much for the crispy tofu tip. I always want mine crunchier… and now I know the trick! Tofu going on the grocery list for the week.


rachel @ the faded apron shared table February 10, 2012 at 3:40 am

That’s exciting! Can’t wait to read the cookbook. It’s already listed on Amazon, but it looks like you’re name is spelled incorrectly on the cover?



Vanessa February 10, 2012 at 4:49 am

Exciting! I almost always by my books used (I can get them so cheap at the flea markets here in Germany), but I think this is one I might have to pre-order and pay extra to have it shipped all the way over to me here in Hamburg.


Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove February 10, 2012 at 5:49 am

Having your book show up on Amazon is pretty cool. Congrats!


jenna February 10, 2012 at 7:23 am

hahaha there’s always something! They are in the process of fixing that :)


Kevin (Closet Cooking) February 10, 2012 at 3:55 am

That is one tasty looking rice noodle bowl! I am liking all of the fresh ingredients!


Caroline @ chocolate & carrots February 10, 2012 at 4:00 am

Congratulations on all of the exciting news coming up! What a great year! 😀


Lauren @ What Lauren Likes February 10, 2012 at 4:02 am

I need to get myself some tofu! So pretty 😀


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 10, 2012 at 4:20 am

Very excited about your book – congrats!


K @ The Chic Teach February 10, 2012 at 4:21 am

The first time I ever tried tofu, it was a crispy, fried, sensational little being! I haven’t had it fried since, but I thiiink this recipe just forced me to re-try it. So good!


Molly @ RDexposed February 10, 2012 at 4:24 am

Ooo love the title! Seems like the topic will be new and refreshing.


Blog is the New Black February 10, 2012 at 4:35 am

This recipe looks awesome, but I am so excited for you and to read your book!


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 10, 2012 at 4:54 am

I’m so excited about your book Jenna! I didn’t know it was coming out in September but I’ll definitely be watching for it. This recipe sounds awesome… and to think that I wasn’t “a tofu person” a couple of years ago. My mouth is watering already!


Amber February 10, 2012 at 4:57 am

I love rice, especially white rice. Its easy on the stomach and perfect at any meal.


Jen February 10, 2012 at 5:09 am

Exciting! Do you shop with a budget or spend a little more since it’s part of your job?


jenna February 10, 2012 at 7:17 am

Yep–I have a budget…I would go crazy if I didn’t.


Rachel February 10, 2012 at 5:36 am

Congrats on the book! Looking forward to seeing it. Do you press/drain the tofu for this recipe? I struggle with tofu at home – but want to try this recipe. Thanks!


jenna February 10, 2012 at 7:16 am

Nope! Just use extra firm tofu and there’s no need to press and drain. Just slice into triangles and use!


Kay February 10, 2012 at 5:45 am

Can’t wait for your book!!! Exciting times for you!!!


Em (Wine and Butter) February 10, 2012 at 5:54 am

Yum yum yum!!! I love crispy tofu and Asian flavours in general – plus after a good few days of stuffing myself with various muffin recipes, Im totally ready for some Asian flavours – so fresh always…

Congratulations on your book! Given that I take like 4 weeks to write a blog post, I cant imagine how much work it must have been.


Betsy February 10, 2012 at 5:55 am

Yummm this is my kind of dish !!!! Can’t wait to try! Love tofu!


dee February 10, 2012 at 6:06 am

oh how exciting! i will definitely be perusing your cookbook when it comes out.

ps. this dish looks AMAZE!


Amanda February 10, 2012 at 6:08 am

Your rice noodle bowl looks incredible, Jenna. This is my most favorite style of food – love all of the different flavors and textures.

Congrats on your book! I can’t wait to check it out when it becomes available!


Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables February 10, 2012 at 6:27 am

That crispy tofu looks awesome!


sweet road February 10, 2012 at 6:29 am

Ha! I just bought fish sauce yesterday because I’ve never used it before and I felt like it was an essential ingredient that needed to find it’s home in my kitchen. I’ll try out this recipe – it seems easy enough!


jenna February 10, 2012 at 6:35 am

congrats on your book! I’m getting excited to read it!

mmm..this dish looks flavorful and easy to make. yum.


Robyn February 10, 2012 at 6:40 am

i have a phobia of fish sauce too…time to get over it!


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen February 10, 2012 at 6:44 am

Very exciting news, Jenna, can’t wait for your book :)


Margarita February 10, 2012 at 6:46 am

Can’t wait for the book to come out! This looks so good!


Leslie Means @ Her View From Home February 10, 2012 at 6:48 am

Looking forward to your book!!


Mel @ Post Grad Mel February 10, 2012 at 7:09 am

I can’t wait to read your book! Will it be available on Kindle? I’ll be in Morocco (with the Peace Corps) when it comes out, which might make shipping difficult.


jenna February 10, 2012 at 7:16 am

Thank you and yes! The book will be available on kindle.


Kelsey February 10, 2012 at 7:19 am

Congrats on the book! I can’t wait to read it!!


Maria February 10, 2012 at 7:21 am

So excited for your book! And LOVE this meal!


Ali O February 10, 2012 at 7:29 am

This could just be the recipe that FINALLY gets my hubby to eat tofu! I can’t wait to make it!


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga February 10, 2012 at 7:32 am

Jenna this tofu and meal looks awesome! I love how browned and crispy you got the tofu and the marinade I bet is just delish. Digggin’ the stripes/grill marks on the tofu, too. I love crispy tofu.


Erika February 10, 2012 at 7:45 am

Hey Jenna! This looks absolutely amazing! I do have a question. I usually fry my tofu for about 8-10 minutes per side to get it nice and chewy. But by dipping them in the cornstarch/salt mixture, will this shorten the time they need to cook?


jenna February 10, 2012 at 7:48 am

If anything, I’ve found that dipping in the cornstarch mixture actually lengthens the time the tofu needs to cook…but only by a minute or so. Worth it!


Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic February 10, 2012 at 7:50 am

I love tofu, especially crispy tofu! It does pair perfectly with soy sauce-based sauces, and I can imagine how everything tastes to well together here!


Bev Weidner February 10, 2012 at 7:57 am

You can just pour this down my throat if you want. I won’t stop you.


Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning February 10, 2012 at 7:57 am

I haven’t been making much crispy tofu lately because (to be honest) I’m too damn impatient and lazy to wait for it to press. I need to get a Tofu Xpress asap (and stop just talking about how much I need one). This recipe looks SO comforting- I want to make it tonight (it would be perfect for an icky cold rainy day like today…)


jenna February 10, 2012 at 8:01 am

No need to wait to have the tofu press—I didn’t for this recipe! Just use extra firm tofu and you’ll be fine.


Elizabeth @ chronic venture February 10, 2012 at 8:32 am

yummm! I love how fresh and delicious this all looks!


Cait's Plate February 10, 2012 at 8:34 am

The first and last photo – GORGEOUS! This looks like such a delicious dish – love the crispy tofu!


Carissa @ ChoiceSustenance February 10, 2012 at 8:48 am

A new Vietnamese restaurant opened in our town that serves pho soup. They have this amazing crispy tofu in it that looks just like yours! We’ve been hoping to try to make it at home…thanks for the recipe! Perfect timing.


Bethany February 10, 2012 at 9:39 am

What would it be like w/o fish sauce? Or any suggestions for a substitute? I’m vegetarian….Thanks!


jenna February 10, 2012 at 11:30 am

Just leave it out. :) It’ll still taste great.


Bethany February 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm



Aylin @ Glow Kitchen February 10, 2012 at 9:47 am

Congratulations on the completion of the book. I can’t wait to read it/eat the recipes in it!


nicole February 10, 2012 at 10:15 am

Hi Jenna,

This recipe looks so amazing and something I would love to try out!!
I recently launched my own recipe BLOG…www.nibblesbynic.com

Your blog and cookbook writing are very inspirational to me.

Best of Luck,


Krissy's Creaions February 10, 2012 at 10:37 am

Can’t wait for your book! SO exciting that you turned your passion into a business. It’s a dream of mine :). Love this recipe. I’ve been wanting to include more tofu into my diet.


Kahea February 10, 2012 at 10:52 am

The first tofu dish I’ve ever eaten (yes, ever) was your tofu banh mi and it was delicious! So I’m looking forward to making this too!


Christie February 10, 2012 at 11:03 am

Yum – this is definitely my kind of food. Bookmarking this one right now!


Katie February 10, 2012 at 11:16 am

I have a question for you. I don’t own any maple syrup (can’t stand it!). Do you think that sugar could easily replace maple syrup or does it add something special to the flavor?
Thank you! I’m dying to make this recipe this weekend.


jenna February 10, 2012 at 11:18 am

Try adding honey instead. Or agave nectar! If you use sugar, you want to use a little less than the recipe calls for.


Anna @ Blissfully Banana February 10, 2012 at 11:31 am

Hi I am so excited to read your book! :)
Also I have a question, who is doing your blog re-do, I’ve been looking for someone and have no luck!


Joelle (on a pink typewriter) February 10, 2012 at 11:38 am

LOVE rice bowls!


JessicaE February 10, 2012 at 11:59 am

Is that you on the cover of your book?


jenna February 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm



Anna February 24, 2012 at 11:15 am

haha I was wondering when/how you got someone to take a picture of you like that!


Erin February 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I enjoy tofu when eating out, but the one time I made it at home, it was really dry. I will have to try it again!


LMF February 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Umm, so yes, I want to be eating this right now. Yum!

Congrats on the book date!


Melissa February 10, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Love the title! Can’t wait to get it.

I’m going to try these rice noodle bowls ASAP. Looks delicious.


Liz @ Tip Top Shape February 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm

This looks ah-mazing!! And I cannot wait for your book to come out!


Angela @ Happy Fit Mama February 10, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Can’t wait for the book and blog redesign!

I’m a tofu fan so this recipe is perfect for me. My husband might even try it since it’s crispy!


Jules @ La Petite Maison Verte February 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm

This looks really flavorful! I’m going to have to try your method for crispy tofu, every time I’ve made it it has ended up spongy :-(


Deanna B. February 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Yum! That sounds so good. I love tofu, but I’m the only one in the family. And I’m super excited for the book.


Jessica @ Healthy Urbanista February 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm

This recipe reminds me of a Pho dish I used to get in Virginia. I’m definitely trying this with the crispy tofu addition! Thanks :)


molly February 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

This looks so good! I’ve been looking for a good Tofu recipe for awhile and i do love myself a good stir-fry….


laura February 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm

i have had a bottle of fish sauce sitting in my cupboard for over three months & a few days ago, i finally used it. i’m both proud & beyond excited, it is a serious life changer.

i’m excited for the book & blog redesign.


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin February 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm

This looks right up my alley! I’m pretty much guaranteed to love anything involving tofu, noodles and veggies. 😀


Maria @ Beautiful Busy Bee February 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Mmmm this looks so good! You make the best Asian food. :) Happy Friday!


Dad February 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm

This looks wonderful!! I love you!!
Love Dad


TeenyLittleSuperChef February 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Woohoo, congratulations on the book! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy when it comes out. Will I be able to pre-order on Amazon? Obviously, I’m really excited to read it, especially if it includes awesome recipes like this one. I love tofu recipes, but generally find them to be boring as far as the flavor and spices they’re cooked with. I like things extra spicy and the sauce sounds like the perfect accompaniment to the tofu. Thanks for the great recipe! You rock Jenna!


jenna February 11, 2012 at 8:54 am

Yep! It will be on pre-order from Amazon. :)


becca February 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm

This looks amazing. I can’t wait to get your cook book – I have following your blog for a while and think you are just so talented and creative when it comes to creating dishes!
I tagged you in 11 things on my blog – http://beccarun.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/a-week-long-break-and-11-things/ feel free to participate if you want, or not. :)


Kelsey @aslolife February 11, 2012 at 10:11 am

these look so great– I really need to pick up some tofu the next time I’m at Trader Joe’s!


Heather @ The TV Lass February 11, 2012 at 10:30 am

Are you going to do a book tour?


jenna February 11, 2012 at 10:33 am

Yep! All that information will be released this summer probably. I don’t know too much about it yet!


Heather @ The TV Lass February 12, 2012 at 8:30 am

Oh good! I hope to meet you in Philadelphia. Congratulations!


Laura in Pittsburgh February 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm

So excited for your book!!! Definitely going to pre-order from Amazon. Your blog is the first I ever read back in 2007 and I think it’s better than ever. Lately I have been cooking a lot of your recipes and have loved every single one (your chicken masala is the bomb.) Thanks for the great recipes and fabulous posts and pictures!


Moni'sMeals February 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Just lovely, I would prefer this over going out to dinner any night!


Jinna February 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm

About how much rice noodles is “one box”? Could I use a 14 oz. bag of rice stick (the kind they use to make pad Thai)? Will make this tonight!


jenna February 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm

You can use those noodles! One box is 16 oz but 14 oz would be fine, too.


Cait February 14, 2012 at 9:49 am

I just made this last night (but with baked tofu because I was feeling lazy) and it was SO incredibly delicious. And just as amazing and fresh tasting for lunch today :)


Nola June 25, 2012 at 10:00 am

How is this “vegetarian” if you’ve included fish sauce? :(


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