I previously wrote about my amazing culinary experience at Disney’s Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant at Hollywood Studios. It was 16 years ago, yet I STILL fondly remember their Beef Mushroom Stroganoff. Not a vegetarian at that time, I ate whatever wanted, not bound by dietary restrictions. Fast-forward to over a decade later, I’m now a hardcore vegan. Would I still be able to find delectable dishes at Disney???
Well, for all the detailed answers to that question, I’ll be blogging about my dining experiences soon as my boyfriend and I just returned from our week-long trip to Disney World. But for now, I can tell you, yes, I found some of the most AMAZING meals on my vacation. I fed my cookbook junky ways by purchasing 5 cookbooks there (Am I a glutton for suitcase punishment?? You betcha). One of the cookbooks, Delicious Disney by the Disney Chefs with Pam Brandon, contained a delish vegan meal I ate on my return visit to the Brown Derby. The dish, Thai Noodle Bowl with Coconut-Crusted Tofu, was so tasty, I couldn’t wait to recreate it at home, reliving my vacation.
This takes about an hour to make and is THE messiest thing I’ve ever cooked. The Tempura Batter for the Coconut-Crusted Tofu is super sticky, like kindergarten paste…no joke!! But the results are well worth it. The coconut tofu tastes sweet and crunchy with a yummy golden batter. The broth is a beautiful accompaniment. It has a bit of a kick with spicy red curry, fragrant lemon grass and pungent ginger.
So even if you can’t make it to Florida to visit one of Disney’s fantastic restaurants, you can bring home the fab flavors right in your own home.
Thai Noodle Bowl with Coconut-Crusted Tofu
1 pound yellow Thai noodles or cappellini (which I used in a pinch)
1 pound firm tofu
4 small heads baby bok choy (I used broccoli…NO bok choy at the market!)
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup fresh snow peas
6 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
4 tablespoons shredded coconut
3-4 tablespoons red curry powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon green onions, sliced
Salt to taste
Tempura Batter (recipe below)
Miso Broth (recipe below)
1. Cook the Miso Broth first as it will take an hour to cook. You can chop vegetables and prepare ingredients, like the Tempura Batter, in the meantime.
2. Cook Thai noodles (or cappellini) until al dente. Set aside.
3. Drain tofu and cut into 4 equal squares or 8 squares if you prefer.
4. I recommend setting up a little assembly line with 3 bowls: 1 of cornstarch, 1 of Tempura Batter and 1 of shredded coconut. Lightly roll each piece of tofu in cornstarch on all sides, then tempura batter on all sides and finally coconut on all sides.
5. Heat 4 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium to high heat. Fry tofu on each side until golden brown.
6. Remove from pan, drain on paper towels and keep warm.
7. In a separate large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil on medium to high heat. Add baby bok choy, mushrooms and snow peas. Stir fry until tender (but not too tender) for approximately 3 minutes.
8. Add miso broth to stir-fry pan. Add red curry and salt and stir.
9. Divide noodles and stir-fried vegetables / miso broth evenly amongst 4 large bowls.
10. Top each bowl with one piece of tofu (2 if you cut it into 8 squares).
11. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Slowly whisk in water until smooth.
8 cups water
3/4 cup tomato juice
1/4 cup miso
1/4 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon fresh lemon grass, chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Place all ingredients in large pot. Bring to a slow simmer for 1 hour. Strain.