Cashew Tofu

Not having chicken on hand the other day, I decided to make Cashew Tofu instead, and it turned out great. For this recipe, I would recommend using pressed beancurd, but this time what I had available was fried tofu, which is also a fun product to try, although certainly less healthful than the pressed variety.

Fried tofu comes in packages from the refrigerator section of the Asian market. It’s golden on the outside, spongy white on the inside, and is often used for making a sort of stuffed pocket dish. We occasionally use it for stirfries, cutting the cubes into smaller pieces and using them to add protein to a dish. Because it is spongy in texture, it soaks up sauce and takes on the flavor of the other ingredients in the dish.

Pressed beancurd, called doufu gan (sort of translates into “tofu jerky!”) is literally tofu that has been pressed to squeeze out excess moisture. The result is a firmer texture that some people compare to meat, although the flavor is of course different. Pressed tofu comes in a variety of flavors – for this recipe I’d use the unflavored variety. You can easily substitute baked tofu, now readily available in most conventional markets, for this ingredient.

ingredients:

  • 6 oz fried or pressed beancurd
  • 8 fresh shiitake mushrooms or dried shiitakes, rehydrated, soaking liquid reserved
  • 1 bell pepper, diced into 1/2″ squares – any color will do, or you can use more than one color for an extra pretty presentation
  • 5 slices fresh ginger root
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 T oil
  • 1/2 c roasted unsalted cashew halves
  • 1/4 tsp salt, more to taste

sauce:

  • 1 T light soy sauce
  • 1 T water or mushroom soaking liquid
  • 1 T Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 1/2 tsp rice or black vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp brown or raw cane sugar

method:

  1. If you are using fried tofu, rinse it under very hot water and then squeeze it gently in a towel – this will remove a fair amount of the fat in which it was fried. If you are using pressed beancurd, rinse and pat it dry. Cut beancurd into 1/2″ cubes.
  2. Remove the mushroom stems and save for making broth. Cut caps into halves or quarters if large.
  3. Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in the wok over high heat until it shimmers, then explode the ginger and scallions just until fragrant.
  5. Add the mushrooms and bell pepper and stirfry for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the tofu cubes and stirfry to heat through.
  7. Add the sauce, and stirfry for 1-2 m, long enough for the starchy taste to be cooked out and the sauce to evenly coat all the ingredients.
  8. Adjust the seasoning (you may not need to add any salt!), garnish with cashews and serve.

nutritional data:

I’m guessing that anyone reading this section of the recipe is probably concerned with dieting, so I’m limiting the calculations to using the pressed tofu – the fried tofu is, naturally, very high in fat! And I’m leaving out the added salt. If you’re watching your sodium intake, you can reduce the amount of soy sauce to your taste, replacing what you eliminate with water or mushroom liquid.

  • Total calories 261, calories from fat 114
  • Total fat 13 g, saturated fat 2 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Sodium 631 mg
  • Total carbs 21 g, dietary fiber 3 g, sugars 4 g
  • Protein 17 g
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