Tofu, Cashew, and Vegetable Stir Fry

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  I really love stir fry, but for some reason I don’t make a lot of it at home.  I never seem to be able to get the seasoning right.  I am also a huge tofu lover, but when I think about incorporating it into meals myself I just get overwhelmed.  Well- no more.  I am going to be using it more.  One reason I have trouble with it is that I always end up just totally annihilating my tofu when I go to get the water out of it.  I have a tofu press currently on route to me from Amazon as we speak, but the old book pressing/towel pressing method usually ends up with me and a lot of tofu crumbles.  Well today I really wanted to make a recipe I adapted from Anna Jones’ A Modern Way to Eat, and I wanted to do it by adding tofu to the stir fry.  So I just decided to lay down my heavy cast iron pan on it with some paper towels for about 15 minutes and let it be.  I still didn’t get all the water out of it- but it didn’t end up a crumbled pile of tofu mess, either.  So I consider it a battle won in my favor.

Serves about 4.  Time to make only 20-30 minutes.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons sesame oil (approximate)

A one inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

Small bunch of green onions (or scallions- they are the same thing!)

1 bunch of asparagus

1 large handful of sugar snap peas (more if you want to serve more people)

2 carrots (again, just add more veg to serve more people)

1 teaspoon Bragg’s liquid aminos (or soy sauce)

1 tablespoon CRP (crushed red pepper)

A large handful of cashews

1/2 block of extra firm tofu, sliced into 1/2 thick slices

Juice of 1/2 lime

Small handful of cilantro

You may choose to serve over rice or noodles, I prefer to eat as is.

Directions

  First, get a cast iron pan or a skillet hot with some oil to pan fry your tofu.  Canola or vegetable oil are best to use here (I made the mistake of using grapeseed oil- argh! It just spat oil everywhere!).  When the oil is hot and near its smoke point, add the tofu slices to the pan.  They should sizzle immediately on hitting the pan.  If not, it isn’t hot enough.  When they are in the pan, I seasoned mine just with cayenne pepper.

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  At this point, you don’t want to bother them.  You want to let them get nice and crispy.  Let them sit for about 5-7 minutes.  If you have water left in them, you will know it- they will spurt and bubble and stick all over the pan.  When you turn them you should have a nice golden crisp.

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  Yum! Let them cook about 5 more minutes on the other side then pull them and put them on a paper towel to get the oil off and cool.  When cooled down, cut into bite size squares and set aside until later.

  While the tofu is cooking, chop up all your vegetables for prep.  Your green onions into small 1/4 inch pieces, carrots into matchsticks, asparagus into one-two inch sections (discarding the ends).  Leave your snap peas whole.  Peel and mince the ginger, as stated above.

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    Next, splash some of the sesame seed oil into a large skillet or wok to coat the bottom.  When heated, add the green onions and ginger to the pan.  (Try to resist just eating the fresh ginger, because it is so delicious.  Or make yourself a Moscow mule!)

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  While these are cooking together for about 5 minutes, put your cashews on to toast.  You can do this either on a pan on the stove or in the oven.  My brother, the baker, was taking up the oven to cook pizza, so I used the stove-top.  Careful not to burn them if you are using this method (I cannot count how many pine nuts I have lost by this method!).

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    From this point on, you are just adding the rest of the mix to your skillet or wok and letting it all come together.  Add all the vegetables to green onions and ginger with 1 teaspoon of liquid aminos or soy sauce. Add in your crushed red pepper now, too.

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   Let this cook for about 5 minutes again and then add in your cashews and tofu to the mix.  Again, let cook for about 5 minutes to meld the flavors together.  If it starts to look a little dry in the pan, add a little more sesame oil or the liquid aminos (just a small splash of either).  You can add more cayenne, CRP, or even sriracha if it pleases you to spice this up.  The spice level as is without them is moderate and pleasing.  Before plating, finish in the pan with the lime juice and chopped cilantro.

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  This dinner comes together very quickly.  Under 30 minutes from start to finish for everything.  A great weeknight meal.  If you want to cut out even more time, you can leave out the tofu and just do the veg and nuts as Ms. Jones does in her version.  This is really easy to mix up with whatever veg you have laying about in the fridge as well.  So easy and good!

** As stated above this was adapted from Anna Jones’ A Modern Way to Eat.  This is a great cookbook with a lot of variety, and it is all really healthy as well.  I recommend you pick it up yourself at Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Way-Eat-Satisfying-Vegetarian/dp/1607748037/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442627164&sr=8-1&keywords=a+modern+way+to+eat

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