Ethereal vermicelli

The crispy filaments of rice find their meaning with tofu, herbs and Chinese stock. A gluten free recipe

Crispy rice vermicelli with smoked tofu, aromatic

Crispy rice vermicelli with smoked tofu, aromatic herbs and Chinese-style stock by Simone Salvini, a gluten free recipe that combines ancient and modern techniques and popular Oriental ingredients (photo by Emanuele De Marco)

This recipe is based on two essential components, namely rice vermicelli and smoked tofu. Vermicelli are gluten free and thus suitable for those who suffer from celiac disease. Making them is a marvellous process that combines ancient and modern techniques. You prepare a batter made with glutinous rice flour and water, and pour part of this on a metal baking tin then steam it in an hermetically closed pot. After a few minutes you remove this sort of crepe from the baking tin and cut it according to your needs (making vermicelli, straccetti, etcetera) and then dry the pasta at low temperature until it is thin and crispy. At this point you can cook the rice pasta in water, or steam it or fry it in oil, as in the case of this recipe.

Smoked tofu, instead, is the classic one: made with soy milk curdled with traditional Chinese nigari, a powder made mostly of magnesium chloride, extracted from marine water. The soy cheese is then smoked with some non-resinous wood chips (usually from cherry), cut into thin slices and then dried in the oven at low temperature for about 2 hours.

The spicy stock serves as a sauce to be drank together with the crispy vermicelli. You can also add a touch of rice flour to make it thicker and then pour it on the vermicelli.

Crispy rice vermicelli with smoked tofu, aromatic herbs and Chinese-style stock

4 small nests of rice vermicelli
100 g smoked tofu
aromatic herbs
4 cherries
oil for frying

Simone Salvini, from Tuscany

Simone Salvini, from Tuscany

for the stock
500 g water
50 g celery stick
2 bay leaves
4 green pepper corns
2 cloves
2 black pepper corns
1 starred anise
2 mandarin zest (only the orange part)
two stalks of fresh coriander

1) Bring the water to the boil together with the other ingredients used for the stock. Leave it to simmer for 10 minutes then cool it down completely. Strain the stock and keep it to a side.
2) Fry the rice nests in seed oil at 180°C until they are completely swollen. It is important to fry one at a time, then put each on some kitchen paper and keep warm.
3) Serve a crispy vermicelli nest on each plate, decorate it with some smoked and dried tofu, the aromatic herbs and some flower petals. Pair with a small glass of Chinese-style stock and a red cherry.


Healthy, natural and vegetarian cuisine


Simone Salvini