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Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Tofu
Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Tofu Photo courtesy of Dusan Vuksanovic

An urban coffee shop is the last place we expected to discover delicious Asian cuisine. But at his new Baltimore coffee shop and café, Artifact Coffee, chef-owner Spike Gjerde is serving an eclectic menu that includes a standout Asian noodle dish. The noodles strike a satisfying note thanks to a garlicky Thai-inspired sauce and toppings of warm tofu and vegetables that shift with the seasons. The salad-like garnish was our favorite part of the dish: It’s precisely the cool, crunchy counterpoint those chewy noodles need.

Makes 4 main-course servings

Peanut Sauce

1 small yellow onion, halved

3 garlic cloves, unpeeled

½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1½ teaspoons hot sauce


Noodles with Tofu

One 8-ounce package soba or udon noodles

One 14-ounce package firm tofu, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 radishes, trimmed and cut into matchsticks

½ cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks

¼ cup bean sprouts

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves

¼ cup unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Red-pepper flakes

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Kosher salt

1. Make the peanut sauce: In a dry cast-iron skillet set over high heat, cook the onion, cut side down, until the bottom is blackened, about 8 minutes. Remove from the skillet, roughly chop and set aside. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet, cool slightly, peel and set aside.

2. In a blender, combine the onion with the garlic and peanuts and pulse until a coarse paste forms. Add ½ cup hot water, the soy sauce, vinegar and hot sauce and blend until smooth. Add more water if needed to thin the sauce. Set aside.

3. Make the noodles: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until tender but still chewy, according to the package instructions. Drain the noodles and rinse briefly with cold water. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls.

4. While the noodles cook, toss the tofu with the sesame oil in a small bowl. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, cook the tofu, stirring occasionally, until browned and warmed through, about 5 minutes. Spoon about ¼ cup of the peanut sauce over the noodles in each bowl and top with the tofu. (Reserve any remaining peanut sauce for another use.)

5. In a small bowl, combine the radishes with the cucumber, bean sprouts, cilantro, peanuts, sesame seeds and a pinch of red-pepper flakes. Add the vinegar and a pinch of salt, then toss to combine. Place the salad on top of the tofu and serve immediately.

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