Ingredients

FOR THE CARROT & DAIKON PICKLES
100ml boiling water
65g (⅓ cup) raw sugar
½ teaspoon fine salt
100ml rice vinegar
1 small carrot, finely shredded
1 cup finely shredded daikon (approx ¼ of a large daikon)
FOR THE DRESSING
2 tablespoons soy sauce, gluten-free if needed
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 bird’s eye chilli, finely chopped, deseeded for less heat if desired
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
FOR THE BLACK-PEPPER TOFU
coconut oil
1 x 300g packet firm tofu, cubed
2 tablespoons soy sauce, gluten-free if needed
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or raw sugar
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
rice vermicelli, cooked according to the packet or soaked in boiling water for 10-15 minutes, then drained
baby cos lettuce, sliced cucumber and mint leaves, to serve
Bún chả is a grilled pork and noodle dish from Hanoi, Vietnam, where it’s served with piles of herbs and the infamous nước chấm dipping sauce made with fish sauce, lime or vinegar, sugar, chilli, and garlic. Here’s my vegan take with peppery tofu, a soy sauce-based version of nước chấm and served with one of my favourite sweet and sour Vietnamese pickles, something my mother-in-law always has in her fridge to add a boost of flavour to all manner of dishes. The pickles can be made up to 4-5 days in advance and stored in the fridge (just be warned they let off a funky smell for the first few days).

Instructions

1.To make the pickles, combine the boiling water, sugar and salt and stir until dissolved.
2.Add the vinegar and set aside to cool completely before adding the shredded carrot and daikon.
3.Mix well and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
4.This can be done up to 4-5 days before, and stored in the fridge in a glass jar.
5.Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a small jar and shake well.
6.Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add a little oil and fry the tofu until golden on all sides.
7.Reduce the heat and add the soy sauce, maple syrup and black pepper.
8.Continue to cook, stirring often, until the sauce thickens and the tofu is golden and coated.
9.To serve, arrange rice vermicelli in bowls, top with the black-pepper tofu, arrange a handful of lettuce leaves, some sliced cucumber and mint leaves in each bowl and drizzle a little dressing over the top of it all.

Recipes, food styling and photography Emma Galloway

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