Fresh lemon grass, a springtime offering at the farmers’ market, inspired this dish. Rice noodles are easy to prepare—you just soak them in hot water while you’re doing other cooking tasks; find them at Asian markets and in the international foods aisle at well-stocked grocery stores.
- flat rice noodles, also called rice stick or bánh pho
- lemon grass stalk
- coconut oil, ghee, or olive oil
- onion, diced
- mushrooms, chopped
- green chiles, such as Padron, Anaheim, or serrano, thinly sliced
- extra-firm tofu, diced
- broccoli, coarsely chopped
- garlic, minced
- fresh cilantro, basil, and mint leaves, chopped
- green onion, thinly sliced
- fresh lime juice
- tamari, soy sauce substitute, or soy sauce
- toasted sunflower seeds
- Put the rice noodles in a large bowl and pour in boiling water until the noodles are submerged. Cover and let stand, stirring occasionally, until noodles are soft, 10–20 minutes. Drain, return to the bowl, and cover to keep warm.
- Trim off and discard the hard bottom and the dry green top of the lemon grass, leaving about 4 inches of stalk. Peel off and discard a few layers of the stalk until you find the shiny inner stalk. Smash the stalk with the back of a wooden spoon or the blade of a chef’s knife. Slice thinly and mince. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms, stir, and cook for a minute or two. Stir in chiles and tofu and cook until bits start to brown on the bottom of the pan. Add broccoli, garlic, and reserved lemon grass to the pan, cover, and cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is bright green and slightly softened. Stir in the herbs and green onion. Season to taste with lime juice and tamari, serve over the rice noodles, and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.