Drunken Noodles with Tofu and Jalapeno

Lately, I’ve been riding the lightning, which is how a consultant perfectly described the experience of being a doctor in training. And thanks to having taught public high school, it just so happens that I appear very nonchalant while thousands of volts pass between my limbs. Several times I’ve been with delirious patients in accelerated states of agitation and belligerence, and my team has told me afterwards, “You really should have gotten out of your chair. They could have hit you, and you need to be ready to run.” Maybe the years of lightning strikes I endured at Rabouin High School in New Orleans have frizzled out my fear receptors. Or at least, I feel pretty attuned to when I’m about to be hit, and if a patient is just yelling, that doesn’t quite set off my red alert. I’m not afraid of storms. In fact, I prefer to ride the storm out because, inevitably, the clear sky is so fresh, and the warmth of the sun feels most rewarding after the rain. Speaking of which, it’s raining jalapeños in my backyard. 

 bacon and my jalapenos in my garden 

The other key note for today is that I don’t think I got any new bug bites. Mosquitos have been their own rainclouds this summer, thick and sinister. If I make it through August without West Nile, I will be thrilled. Meanwhile, I’ll be eating tropical dishes such as the following. When in a rain forest, eat as the Thai do. 

drunken noodles plate

Drunken Noodles with Tofu and Jalapeno

Adapted from Food and Wine

Olive oil

12 ounces firm tofu, cubed and dried

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce

2 TB red curry paste

1 teaspoon tahari sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1 large jalapeño, seeded and sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 red Thai bird chile, minced

1/2 pound pad thai rice noodles, cooked and cut in half crosswise

Thai basil leaves

Lime wedges, for serving

In a nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil. Add the tofu and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until crisp, 5 minutes. Drain.

In a bowl, whisk the stock, oyster sauce, fish sauce, chile paste, soy sauce and sugar.

drunken noodles cooking

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic and Thai chile and stir-fry over high heat until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the noodles and stir-fry until browned, 4 minutes.

drunken noodles stirfry

Add the sauce and toss over moderately high heat, until absorbed. Fold in 1 cup of basil and the tofu. Garnish with more basil and serve with lime wedges.

drunken noodles yum

The tofu in this dish is perfectly inert–a vehicle for all the spicy and savory flavors of garlic and chile peppers and jalapenos. I’m just stoked that half these ingredients came from my backyard. 

2 thoughts on “Drunken Noodles with Tofu and Jalapeno

  1. Love the term “riding the lightening.” It would be awesome if you could just have a portable garden with you at all times, so if a patient is riled, you could offer them some delish dishes. Food (esp food from a backyard!) soothes.

  2. Yes, “riding the lightning”, that is fantastic, and so fitting for intense, adventurous times like the ones that you seem to seek out, and in which I know you can thrive as few others could. The tofu and noodles sound so good too. Your talent is only increasing the longer you keep cooking and baking!

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