Crispy Tofu With Cashews and Blistered Snap Peas

My skipper has been pushing for more vegetarian meals these days so I’m trying to oblige. I found this recipe on one of the NYT Cooking daily emails a few weeks back. It’s a creation from Yewande Komolafe who grew up in Lagos and is now in New York. She also has a repertoire of Nigerian recipes. You may have seen it yourself, but if not, here it is with no subscription and free of pop-up advertising! It reads as if it’s one dish but it’s actually two, a main course of tofu and cashews on rice with a side of blistered snap peas. I’ve altered it ever so slightly to make it a little more “galley friendly.”

Crispy Tofu With Cashews and Blistered Snap Peas

Snap peas
1 tablespoon canola oil
¾ pound snap peas, trimmed
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
¼ cup mint leaves, torn if large
½ to 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)

Tofu and Cashews
1 (14-ounce) block firm or extra-firm tofu, drained
2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more as needed
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (13-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar or honey
½ cup toasted cashews

Let’s start with the snap peas first. They can be made ahead and served at room temperature.Clean and trim the snap peas. Mince the scallions and mint. In your favorite large sauté pan, add 1 tablespoon canola oil and heat to high. Add the snap peas and sauté, stirring occasionally, until blistered and just tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and move to a bowl. Toss the snap peas with the rice vinegar, scallions, mint and red-pepper flakes, if using. Set aside.

Now moving on to the tofu. I’m just serving myself and my skipper tonight so I’m using only half of the tofu. Slice the tofu in half horizontally, and place on paper towels to dry any excess liquid. Pat the top with paper towels as well. You’ll want the tofu to be a dry as possible. Season with salt and pepper.

Returning to the same sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil to hot. Place the drained tofu 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.

Next, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and add the ginger and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the coconut milk, soy sauce and brown sugar. Simmer, stirring frequently until the sauce reduces and its color deepens to a dark brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cashews. Cut the tofu into 1-inch pieces and toss in the pan to coat with sauce. Remove from heat and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Serve on rice with the snap peas.

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