Serves 4 with leftovers


¼cup soy sauce
2tablespoons sweet red chili sauce
2tablespoons lime juice
2tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2tablespoons vegetable oil
teaspoons dark brown sugar
4scallions, thinly sliced
¼cup dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1piece (2 inches) fresh ginger, finely chopped

1. In a bowl, combine soy and chili sauces, lime juice, vinegar, oil, sugar, scallions, peanuts, and ginger.

2. Stir and set aside.


2blocks (1 pound each) extra-firm tofu
Vegetable oil (for sprinkling)
2tablespoons vegetable oil
4scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1large carrot, sliced
½Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
1pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1bunch watercress, cut into 3-inch lengths
1package (6 ounces) wide rice noodles

1. On a large plate, sandwich the tofu between 2 thick layers of paper towels. Add a second plate and a weight, and set aside for 10 minutes. Cut across each block to make 8 slices (16 total).

2. In a shallow baking dish, arrange slices in one layer. Pour marinade over them, turning once. Set aside for 15 minutes.

3. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Brush a baking sheet with vegetable oil.


4. Remove tofu from marinade and set on the baking sheet.

5. Strain the marinade into a bowl. Sprinkle the solids over the tofu; reserve the liquid. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Set aside 8 pieces for the banh mi.

6. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the vegetable oil. Add the scallions and carrot. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook 1 minute. Add the asparagus and cook 2 minutes. Add the watercress and cook 2 minutes. Taste for seasoning and stir in 2 tablespoons of marinade or enough to moisten the mixture. Keep hot over low heat.

7. In a bowl, pour boiling water over the noodles; set aside for 2 minutes, separating the noodles with 2 forks. Drain.

8. Divide the noodles among 4 plates. Top each with vegetables and tofu.

Sally Pasley Vargas