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Kung Pao Tofu Noodles

KUNG PAO TOFU NOODLES
Big Bowl Restaurant Recipe

8 ounces fresh Chinese egg noodles
peanut oil for deep frying plus 1 teaspoon
1 cup diced tofu, cut into 3/4 inch dice
1 1/2 cups raw peanuts
2 teaspoons chili paste with garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons bean sauce
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
6 to 8 dried whole chilies (crush coarsely if you want this really hot)
1/2 cup sliced scallions (white only, 1/2 inch slices)
8 whole garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
1 cup cilantro leaves
1 cup fresh cleaned spinach

Bring a large quantity of water to a boil; cook the noodles as you would any pasta, around 5 minutes or until done. Drain, run under cold water to stop cooking, drain again and toss with 1 teaspoon of the peanut oil. Set aside.

Heat 2 to 3 cups of oil in a wok until hot but not smoking, and add the bean curd. Turn gently in the oil and fry until golden. Remove the bean curd with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels.

Add the peanuts to the same oil and stir gently for 10 seconds, turn off the heat and allow the peanuts to sit until they are light golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. When cool, remove and gently chop 1/4 cup, set aside. Reserve the oil.

Mix together the chili paste, bean sauce, Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sugar and vinegar. Set aside.

In a clean wok, heat 4 tablespoons of the reserved oil. As it’s heating, add the chili peppers and cook over a medium heat until they blacken and smoke. Quickly turn the heat to high, add scallion whites, and cook, stirring, 5 seconds. Add the garlic and sauce mixture and cook until bubbling hot.

Add the noodles and cook until well coated with the sauce. Add the fried tofu and stir. Splash in the tofu, add most of the 3/4 cup whole peanuts, turn off heat and stir in cilantro and spinach. Sprinkle the reserved chopped peanuts on top and serve. Serves 4.

NOTE: You may use roasted peanuts for this dish. You may use either 2 cups of cilantro or 2 cups of spinach, also, depending on your preference.

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