Recipe: Spice up your life — with gluten-free tofu and noodles

Recipe: Spice up your life — with gluten-free tofu and noodles

Spicy Tofu with Rice Noodles and Kimchi by Di Curtin

WHEN a close member of the family discovers they are seriously gluten intolerant, it’s time to change the cooking habits in the kitchen.

I’ve never had to think about food allergies and intolerances before. But I soon discovered it wasn’t that hard to make meals that don’t contain gluten and everyone likes. I’m talking normal dishes for everyday eating.

Of course, members of the family that can tolerate gluten don’t have to change their ways. In fact, I’ve read that it’s not wise to cut out gluten from your diet if you don’t have a problem with it in the first place. 

But it’s surprisingly easy to feed the whole family gluten free for quite a few ordinary and sustaining main meals, saving you time and stress in the kitchen.

Straightforward meat and two veg, meat stews and casseroles are all fine, minus gravy made with normal gravy thickeners or flour. Instead, thicken with tapioca flour, which you mix with a little cold water and stir into your casserole or meat stock for a delicious gluten free gravy.

A family dish of Spaghetti Bolognaise is gluten free if you don’t use a commercial bottled sauce and cook the mince with tinned chopped tomatoes or tomato passata and herbs instead. All you need is a portion of gluten free pasta for the intolerant person.

Fish and seafood is excellent in spicy curries which use gluten-free curry pastes (readily available) enriched with either yogurt or coconut milk and served with rice.

I’ve done a warming south-east Asian noodle dish all the family will love, just swapping rice noodles for the usual egg ones. Very delicious and full of flavour.

This recipe also includes tofu, which is vegan. Not because I have a vegan in the family, but just for a change. No harm to include some plant protein into the diet! Swap the tofu for chicken or prawns if you wish.

The Korean red pepper paste in this recipe is available in a large tub from Mr Bells in the English Market. It’s expensive for the initial layout but will last ages.

Spicy Tofu with Rice Noodles

Ingredients (serves 4)

2 tbsp Korean red pepper paste

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 finger fresh rootginger, grated

Pinch of dried red chilli flakes (optional - for extra spicy)

1 tsp rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar

2 tsp sesame oil

350g organic tofu

1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped

300g rice noodles

125g fresh beansprouts (or use canned drained beansprouts)

2 -3 tbsp kimchi to taste

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Gluten free soy sauce for seasoning (optional)


  • Mix the pepper paste with garlic, ginger, chilli flakes and, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil in a bowl. Reserve.
  • Drain and press the tofu between paper towels to squeeze out any moisture. Cut into cubes.
  • Pour in the stock and bring to bubbling. Stir in the pepper paste mix and scallions.
  • Add noodles, tofu, beansprouts and kimchi.
  • Bring back to simmering and cook for a few moments till rice noodles are tender and everything is heated through.
  • Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and a dash of gluten-free soy sauce if desired.
  • Serve immediately in four bowls.

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