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Thailand | Thai Noodle Bowls with Red Curry Tofu
and green papaya salad

Active: 45 min Total: 45 min
These two authentic and beloved lunch dishes served throughout Thailand may trick you into thinking that you are sitting at a noodle stand in Bangkok. Enjoy the spicy tofu and bell peppers while twirling noodles between a spoon and fork.


Thai Noodle Bowls with Red Curry Tofu:
  • Tofu, extra firm (vacuum packed preferable) - 16 oz , 1" (2.5cm) cubes
  • Lemongrass (opt) - 2 bulbs , smashed
  • Onions - 1/2 , chopped
  • Bell peppers, any color - 2 , sliced
  • Peanuts, roasted and unsalted - 1/4 cup , chopped
  • Noodles, Udon (sub soba or spaghetti) - 8 oz
  • Cilantro - 2 Tbsp , leaves torn
  • Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp
  • Curry paste, red (sub green or yellow) - 1 Tbsp
  • Coconut milk, light and unsweetened (14 oz / 397 g can) - 1 can
  • Stock, any type - 1 cup
  • Soy sauce, low-sodium - 1 Tbsp
  • Limes - 1/2 , juice of
Green Papaya Salad:
  • Peanuts, roasted and unsalted - 1/4 cup , chopped
  • Jalapenos (sub serrano or bird's eye chilis if you like extra spice) - 1/2 , sliced
  • Garlic - 1 clove , chopped
  • Limes - 1/2 , juice of
  • Soy sauce, low-sodium - 2 tsp
  • Sugar, brown - 1 tsp
  • Carrots, medium - 1 , shredded
  • Papaya, unripe and green (look for dark green, firm fruit or sub 2 cucumbers per papaya) - 1 , shredded


  1. Tofu - If tofu is packaged in water, press out liquid first. Then slice into 1" (2.5 cm) cubes. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead)
  2. Lemongrass / Onions / Bell peppers / Peanuts (for both the salad and noodles) - (If prepping right before cooking, start a pot of water boiling for noodles before continuing with prep.) If lemongrass came in a long stalk, slice off the lowest part of the stalk (the bulb) and discard the rest. (You want only the portion of the lemongrass stalk that is light purple inside.) Use a meat tenderizer to smash the lemongrass stalks just to break them open. Chop onions and bell peppers. Combine lemongrass and onions in one container. Store bell peppers and peanuts in their own containers. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  3. Jalapenos / Garlic - Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
  4. Make dressing - Combine jalapenos, garlic, lime juice (portion for salad), soy sauce (portion for salad) and sugar. (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
  5. Noodles - Cook according to package instructions. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
  6. Carrots / Papaya - Shred carrots and papaya / cucumbers (if using papaya, peel papaya first) with a Julienne peeler or box grater and combine. (Can be done up to 2 days ahead)
  7. Cilantro - Chop cilantro.

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  1. Toss carrots and papaya in dressing (if you have a large mortar and pestle, gently pound the salad to soften veggies). Refrigerate salad while preparing noodles.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add first part of cooking oil and then lemongrass and onions to heated oil. Saute until onions are tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add coconut milk, stock and soy sauce (portion for the noodles). Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and continue simmering while preparing the tofu and vegetables, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. While stock simmers, heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add second part of cooking oil and then red curry paste to heated oil. When curry paste begins to release oil, add tofu and saute to coat in curry. Continue cooking tofu, stirring to cook all sides, until golden brown and crisp, 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. Set tofu aside and return pan to heat. If the pan is dry, add an additional splash of cooking oil and then bell peppers. Saute until bell peppers are tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Divide noodles between serving bowls. Ladle stock over noodles (discard lemongrass stalks - they aren't edible). Top noodle bowls with tofu, bell peppers, cilantro and lime juice.
  7. Taste papaya salad and add additional lime juice, sugar or soy sauce to suit your taste.
  8. Top both the noodle bowls and papaya salad with peanuts. Enjoy!



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