Crispy Tofu with Cashews and Blistered Snap Peas

9 Mar

Here’s another winning recipe from the New York Times. The intro to the recipe says it will work well with small pieces of chicken instead of tofu, if that’s what you prefer. And if you don’t like or don’t have snap peas, use grean beans, broccoli or asparagus — anythng that’s fresh and green. The colors in this dish are almost as nice as the flavors. I confess I did not have the mint leaves it suggests sprinking on top; after waiting several weeks while hoping to find some, I just gave up.


1 (14-oz.) block firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
kosher salt and black pepper
¾ lb. snap peas, trimmed
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and grated (about 2 Tbs.)
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 (13-oz.) can unsweetened coconut milk (light or full-fat)
1 Tbs. soy sauce
2 tsp. molasses, dark brown sugar or honey
½ cup toasted cashews
1 Tbs, rice vinegar
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
¼ cup mint leaves, torn if large
½ to 1 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional


In a medium skillet or cast-iron pan, heat 1 Tbs. oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Season both sides of the tofu with salt and black pepper, place it in the pan and sear without moving until tofu is browned and golden on both sides, turning once halfway through (about 8 minutes total). Move the tofu to a plate.

Add 1 Tbs. oil to the pan and add the snap peas. Cook, stirring occasionally, until blistered and just tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and move to a bowl.

Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil, add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the coconut milk, soy sauce and molasses. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce reduces and its color deepens to a dark brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. It should coat a spoon without running right off.

Stir in the cashews, break the tofu into 1-inch pieces and toss in the pan to coat with the sauce. Remove from heat, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Toss the snap peas with the rice vinegar, scallions, mint and red-pepper flakes if you use them. Divide among plates with the tofu and cashews. Serve with rice or any steamed grain.

Serves 4


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