Tofu and cashew chow mein

Tofu and cashew chow mein

In traditional Chinese diets, meat is eaten in smaller amounts than in the West, and is usually used to add flavor and texture to meals rather than being the main focus of the plate. For protein, Chinese cooks often turn to plant foods such as soy beans. Tofu, which is made from soy beans, is one of the most nutritious and versatile Asian ingredients and has long been a staple of Chinese cuisine. As well as being a great source of protein, tofu provides a rich source of B vitamins and valuable minerals such as iron and calcium.

For this recipe we use firm tofu. Its texture allows you to cut the block into cubes and cook them without breaking apart. When stir-fried in a little hot oil, the cubes of tofu get lightly browned and crispy on the outside while staying soft on the inside. With its subtle flavor and sponge-like consistency, tofu perfectly complements the taste of the sauce and the textures of the other stir-fry ingredients, particularly the crunchy cashews (which also provide extra protein.)

Apart from its healthy qualities, tofu is relatively inexpensive and also really convenient. You don’t have to cook a whole block at once — just place any leftover tofu in a container covered with water and, as long as you change the water every couple of days, it will keep in the fridge for up to a week without spoiling, ready to be used in stir-fries, braises and soups.

We hope that this quick, tasty and filling Chinese chow mein will entice you to cook tofu regularly at home.

Tofu and cashew chow mein
serves 2
Crunchy cashews and vegetables complement the soft texture of the noodles and tofu in this quick and satisfying dish.
10 oz (280g) precooked thick wheat noodles (typically found in the refrigerated section of the supermarket)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
6 oz (170g) firm tofu — cut into cubes
1 carrot — cut into thin strips
2 cups small broccoli florets
2 cloves garlic — minced (crushed)
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
½ cup roasted cashew nuts
LOOSEN the precooked noodles by soaking in a bowl of hot water for 2-3 minutes, then drain and set aside. MIX together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and water in a bowl. HEAT a wok or large frying pan over a high heat, add the oil and stir-fry the carrot and broccoli for 2 minutes. ADD the tofu and stir-fry for 4 minutes. ADD the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for a minute. STIR through the noodles then add the sauce mixture and cashews and mix until thoroughly combined and heated through.

Variation: Flaked almonds can replace the cashews.