Cellophane Noodle Salad with Cilantro-Ginger Dressing and Glazed Tofu

For Tofu

  • 1 block extra firm tofu, drained and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Chinese rice wine or sake
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For dressing

  • 3/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 large fresh jalapeno chile, seeded and minced (optional)

For salad

  • 8 oz very thin bean-thread noodles (also known as cellophane, glass, or mung bean noodles)
  • 3/4 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 firm-ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
  • 2 thin carrots, cut into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh small basil leaves

To make the tofu: Cut the tofu into long 1 1/2- to 2-inch-wide strips. Transfer Tofu to a large sealable plastic bag. Stir together remaining Tofu ingredients in a small bowl until combined well. Add to the tofu and turn to coat, then squeeze bag to eliminate as much air as possible and seal. Marinate tofu, chilled, at least 2 hours but no longer than 24.

Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 375°F. Put 1/2 inch water in a 13- by 9-inch roasting pan and place a metal rack across top of pan (rack should not touch water).

Remove tofu from marinade, reserving marinade, and arrange tofu strips 1 inch apart on rack. Roast in oven 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring marinade to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan, then boil 1 minute (marinade may look curdled). Remove from heat.

Brush both sides of the tofu with some marinade and roast 10 minutes more. Generously brush both sides of tofu with marinade again and roast, basting 2 or 3 times, 10 minutes more.

Increase oven temperature to 400°F and roast tofu until strips are mahogany-colored and caramelized on edges, 10 to 15 minutes more (tofu should roast for a total of about 50 minutes). Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes.

Make the dressing: Blend together all dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth. Stir before using.

Cook noodles and beans for salad: Cook beans in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer with a skimmer or slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, reserving cooking liquid in pot. Drain beans and pat dry.

Return bean-cooking liquid to a boil, then cook noodles, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain noodles in colander and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Drain noodles again, then spread out on paper towels and pat dry.

Assemble salad: Cut as much tofu as desired for salad. Toss noodles with 1/4 cup dressing in a bowl. Toss beans with 2 tablespoons dressing in another bowl. Arrange tofu, noodles, beans, and remaining salad ingredients on a large platter. Drizzle with some of dressing and serve remaining dressing on the side.