Week 29: Cashew Tofu Stir Fry
What is your favourite go to dinner recipe these days? Ours is, without a doubt, this cashew tofu stir fry. In fact, I’ve made it twice since I first started writing this post. Life has been a little bit crazy lately and this recipe is tried and true and comes to the rescue to perk up our weeknight meals on a semi-regular basis.
Confession: I actually tried this recipe for the first time about a year ago. It was so surprisingly good (I didn’t have high expectations for tofu) that I’m pretty sure it was in the back of my mind as motivation when I thought about starting this blog. THIS is the kind of recipe worth sharing. Just the other day, my coworker simply smelled my stir fry (as I was stuffing my face at my desk between assessments) and was intrigued. I told her I’d send her the recipe, but the thing about this one is that it comes with a couple of notes for the way I like to enjoy it (and substitutions for hard to find ingredients). So, take a peek, and give it a try. I promise you will not be disappointed! https://www.ricardocuisine.com/en/recipes/5601-tofu-and-cashew-stir-fry
P.S. She also asked, “what does tofu even taste like?!” and I answered honestly – nothing. Lol. The beauty of tofu is that it tastes like whatever sauce it’s in, and this sauce is deeeeelicious! I like the way this recipe fries the tofu to crisp it up. Just trust me on this one – you might even start to like tofu.
Ingredients: tofu, cashews, fresh ginger, green onions, garlic, cornstarch, and the other sauce ingredients. Important substitution notes: for “chili sauce” I like to use sriracha (I tried using the Huy Fong chili garlic sauce once but found it made the sauce runnier and spicier than making its with sriracha). Sambal oelek is worth buying and can be used in other recipes if you like a little bit of heat. I have not been able to find mirin (apparently it is a sweet Japanese rice wine) so I substitute rice vinegar and sugar (2 tbsp vinegar + 1 tsp white sugar for 2 tbsp mirin).
Timing: with a bit of practice, I can now get this done in just under an hour, including making the stir fry, steamed broccoli, and rice.
Yield: 3-4 entrée portions
Serving: I like to serve this atop rice and steamed broccoli and top it with fresh green onions (the green parts that would otherwise get wasted after you use the white parts in the recipe).
How did it go? I’ve made this one several times so I’ve had lots of time to iron out the kinks. With that said, even when I’ve made little mistakes here and there, it continues to amaze me and turn out GREAT!
The way I make it: I only sprinkle the cornstarch on right before I’m ready to fry, so that way I can just leave the tofu in the bowl rather than transfer them to a plate. I use a wok and fry the tofu in two batches because it doesn’t all fit flat on the bottom in one. I line a dinner plate with paper towel and season the tofu with salt and pepper on there right after I take it out of the pan. I don’t use quite so much oil so I don’t have to discard any at the end. I tried it first with 1 cup cashews and found it to be too much, so now we use ½ cup cashews which feels “just right” and saves on costs as nuts ain’t cheap! I skip the cilantro on top but garnish with the green parts of the green onions that would otherwise get wasted as typically only the white and super light green parts are used in these types of recipes.
Taste: OUT. OF. THIS. WORLD. I love this dish, especially the sauce. Caution: it is quite spicy. Sometimes I add a touch of extra “mirin” and soy sauce and underfill the hot sauce a tad to balance things out and it’s still got quite a kick. It’s so tasty though.
- Spice – if you are like me and don’t like things crazy spicy, you might want to add a little extra mirin/soy sauce and fill the hot sauce scoops slightly under, in order to manage the spice levels.
- Frying tofu – be careful the oil isn’t too hot or it might splatter. This could burn your skin or stain your clothes so you might want to wear an apron when frying the tofu. I don’t use as much as listed in the recipe so I don’t have to dump out extra at the end, but this might also vary depending on the size and shape of your pan.
- Cashews – half a cup should be enough (1 cup is a LOT).
- Garnish with green onions – use the fresh green part to top the finished dish (you can safely skip the cilantro).
Luke’s review: Spicy, fresh, hearty, and downright delicious. One of my favourite dinner meals, this meal might seem simple but it has a lot to offer. I love the sauce and crunch from the peanuts (Editor’s note: there are no peanuts. He probably means cashews.). I usually always have seconds, sometimes thirds. Green onion highlights this dish too so be sure to use lots – don’t be cheap!
Luke’s recipe rating: two thumbs up!