This crispy harissa tofu with sesame noodles recipe is perfection and a lot easier to make than it sounds.
I make the harissa and oven-baked tofu puffs ahead of time and then mix and reheat to crisp up. That way I only have to throw it together when I get home from a hard day’s work.
This technique for making oven-baked tofu puffs is my go-to for any baked tofu situation. I have written it out in the recipe below for clarity.
I use the leftover harissa on pretty much everything that’ll fit into my mouth. It’s perfect on toast, with scrambled eggs, on a burger, etc. etc. etc.
A word on the ‘harissa’
Apologies if this is not a proper harissa recipe btw. I forget where I got this concoction and it’s very good, but it may not actually *be* harissa harissa.
Vegan Harissa Tofu and Tahin Noodles
- Small food processor or pestle and mortar
- Sheet pan or similar flat surface
- Kitchen towels
- Heavy object, like a Dutch oven
- Baking sheet
- Small bowl
For the harissa - you can also buy ready made harissa
- 1/4 t - 2 gr coriander seeds ground works but isn't as nice
- 1/4 t - 2 gr fennel seeds same
- 2 T - 30 ml red wine vinegar
- 2 T - 30 gr tomato paste
- 3 cloves garlic smoked if you have them
- 1 T - 15 ml lemon juice fresh preferred
- 4 T - 60 ml olive oil
- 1 1/2 T - 20 gr sweet paprika powder smoked if you have it
- 1/4 t - 2 gr chili flakes chipotle if you have it
- pinch nutmeg
- pinch salt
- pinch black pepper
For the tofu puffs - you can also buy ready made tofu puffs
- 7 oz - 200 gr firm tofu this will not work with other types of tofu
- 2 T - 30 gr corn starch rice or potato flour also work
- 2 T - 30 ml neutral oil I use sunflower
For the noodles
- 7 oz - 200 gr udon noodles or other noodles of choice
- 3 small shallots finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 T - 15 ml sunflower oil
- 1 T - 15 ml water
- 2 T - 30 gr sesame oil
- 2 T - 30 gr tahin
- 3 T - 45 ml soy sauce or tamari
- 2 handfuls mesclun or other salad mix of choice
Make the harissa
- Toast 1/4 t - 2 gr of coriander and fennel seeds each in a dry skillet until aromatic, 2 minutes or so. Skip this step if you're using ground spices.
- Add the toasted coriander and fennel seeds, 2 T - 30 ml of red wine vinegar, 2 T - 30 gr of tomato paste, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 T - 15 ml of lemon juice, 4 T - 60 ml of olive oil, 1 1/2 T - 20 gr of sweet paprika, 1/4 t - 2 gr of chili powder and pinches of nutmeg, black pepper and salt to a small food processor and blend on high until smooth. Taste and add more salt or spice as you see fit. If you don't have a food processor you can do this with a pestle and mortar and a lot of elbow grease.
To make the tofu puffs
- You can skip pressing the tofu if you're in a rush, but it gives much better results than unpressed tofu as this tends to be waterlogged.
- Press 7 oz - 200 gr of tofu for at least 30 mins. You can do this by placing the tofu on some kitchen towels on a sheet tray, placing more kitchen towel on top and then balancing a heavy object on top of that. If you don't have a Dutch oven a large pot with a bunch of books in them will do the trick.
- Once the tofu has been pressed, preheat an oven to 365° F/ 185° C and line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Cut the tofu into cubes of 1"x1" - 2x2 cm.
- Mix together 2 T - 30 gr of corn flour and 2 T - 30 ml of sunflower oil to make a slushy paste.
- Coat the tofu cubes or slabs in the corn flour/ oil slushy.
- Place the tofu cubes, blocks or slabs on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until the tofu has become puffy and golden. Turn them at the halfway mark. Be sure to leave the oven on after 15 minutes because we're not done yet.
- You can start making the noodles while the tofu is baking.
- Mix the tofu with 2 T - 15 gr of the harissa and then place them back onto your baking sheet. Bake for another 10 minutes.
- Remove the tofu puffs from the oven and mix with another 2 Tof harissa.
Make the noodles
- Make 7 oz - 200 gr of udon noodles according to the directions on the packet.
- While the noodles are cooking, saute 3 minced shallot and 2 cloves of garlic in 1 T of sunflower oil in the skillet you used to dry-roast the spices earlier. Once the garlic and shallots have gone soft and translucent add them to a small bowl along with 2 T - 15 ml of sesame oil, 2 T - 30 gr of tahin, 1 T - 15 ml of water and 3 T - 45 ml of soy sauce. Whisk to combine.
- Once cooked, toss the drained noodles with the sauce until evenly coated.
- Place the noodles, tofu and mesclun on a plate. Add more harissa if you want.