Thai Stir Fried Tofu with Cashew Nuts - An Easy and Delicious Thai Vegetarian Stir Fried Recipe!
I'm not a vegetarian, and in truth I'm a pretty recent convert to the pleasures of tofu, but after having lived in Asia for a while it's hard to ignore all the fantastic dishes that showcase tofu!
This dish is great on its own as a quick lunch with a little steamed Jasmine rice, or as one of a series of dishes for a larger Thai or vegetarian Thai style dinner. What really makes this dish shine is the contrast of textures - with the rich and crunchy cashew nuts playing perfectly against the soft tofu.
Although a vegetarian dish, this is not a dish for vegetarians only – everybody likes this one!
Fried Tofu with Cashew Nuts (for four people)
- 1 lb soft white tofu
- 1/2 cup of cashew nuts (you can use broken cashew nuts here to save a buck or two if you'd rather, it won't make any difference to the finished taste.)
- 3 cloves of garlic, smashed with the side of a knife, but not chopped.
- 1 sweet red or yellow pepper, cut into small (1/2 inch) squares
- 1 cup of chopped onion - also cut into squares (A large square dice)
- 2 very ripe plum tomatoes cut into small wedges (or 2 Tbls of tomato paste or ketchup)
- 1 Tbls of oyster sauce
- 3 Tbls of soya sauce
- 2 tsps of sugar
- A few green onions, white part removed and the green segments cut into 2 inch pieces
- Vegetable oil for frying the tofu
- Rinse off the tofu, dry it well and cut it into ½ inch dice
- Heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil at medium heat in a heavy skillet or wok - When the oil has pre-heated, add in the tofu cubes and fry for a minute or two, or until golden browned. Remove from the oil and let drain on some paper towels. (if frying in a wok you may need to do this in batches to keep from overcrowding)
- With the oil still hot, deep fry the cashew nuts. You want to fry these in batches, preferably dipping the cashew nuts in the oil from within some form of deep-fry basket, or from within a deep-frying spider. It's important to be able to get the cashew nuts out of the oil quickly after they brown, as they can easily burn. Total frying time for the cashew nuts is measured in seconds, not minutes, and remember that the nuts will continue to brown slightly even after removed from the oil, so take them out just before they are fully colored. Let them dry off on paper towels with the tofu. *(If you have roasted cashew nuts, you can skip this step, although even roasted cashew nuts will benefit from a quick "awakening" fry/roast in the hot oil.)
- Remove all but about 1Tbls of the oil from your wok, and toss in your smashed garlic, stir-frying it until it has browned slightly, about 20 seconds.
- Add in the diced peppers and onions, and fry over medium-high, stirring constantly, until the vegetables have softened slightly, about 2 minutes.
- Add in all of the sauces and seasonings and the tomato wedges, and as you fry the tomatoes, squish them vigorously to release all of their juices into the mix. This should take 1-2 minutes. You want the tomatoes here mostly for their juice, and the remaining wedges should be softened and blended into the mixture. You can use about 2tbls of tomato paste as a substitute for the tomatoes if preferred, and believe it or not, a couple of spoonfuls of ketchup will also work well here.
- Toss your reserved cashew nuts and tofu back into the pan and taste for seasoning, adding more soya sauce or sugar as needed.
Serve on a platter garnished with the green onion slices and with steamed rice.
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