Yesterday I had a pretty bad drowsy spell at around 3 p.m. and could barely keep my eyes open. At 5, I cracked and had to drink a cup of coffee. Well wow. I got super productive in the afternoon – set my sprouts, did laundry, cooked lunch for today, planned my menu for the next 2 weeks, made market lists, planned some stuff for my siblings to do when they come back for the summer holidays, made to-do lists for the entire weekend, binge watched a few episodes of The Americans (haven’t seen the finale yet so shhhh), had a Disney song karaoke night while I did the dishes and cut up a bunch of bananas for smoothie experiments next week. Whew! My point? 5 p.m. is the new 2:30 pm when it comes to coffee.
So today I’m sharing one of my all-time favourite recipes with you – Tofu & Cashew Chow Mein. I found this recipe in the Mediterrasian Way Cookbook and tentatively marked it as ‘to try’. I live in a country where Chow mein is practically a national dish, and without a go-to Chow mein recipe up my apron sleeve (not that I’ve ever seen an apron with a sleeve but let’s just go with it), I figured “hmm…what’s the harm in trying it?” Well whoa. Stop the presses. You need to try this recipe like, yesterday.
The Mediterrasian Way cookbook has been my go-to book for years. It’s a wonderful combination of simple, healthy recipes that have Mediterranean and Asian influences. Ric & Trudy have such an inspiring story and Ric is a testament to clean eating having a positive effect on your body. I usually tell anyone who will listen that anything made from this book comes out perfectly so I never have to test it before.
Recipe Posted with Permission by the Authors of the Mediterrasian Way.
Tofu & Cashew Chow Mein
20 ounces (600g) precooked thick Chinese wheat noodles (typically found in the refrigerated section of the supermarket)
6 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
4 teaspoons sesame oil
4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
2 carrots, peeled & julienned
4 cups small broccoli florets
12 ounces (360g) firm tofu, cut into cubes
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 cup roasted cashew nuts
Loosen the precooked noodles by soaking in a bowl of hot water for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain and set aside.
Mix together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and water in a bowl and set aside.
Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat, add the canola oil, and cook the carrots and broccoli, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the tofu and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for 1 minute. Add the noodles and stir to combine. Add the sauce mixture and cashews, mix until thoroughly combined and heated through, and serve.
Variation: Replace the cashews with sliced almonds.
The roasted cashews (350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes) are seriously the star of this dish so I would advise you not to replace it with almonds. Who knew that the nuttiness could complement the chow mein so incredibly well? Who knew that tofu could hold flavour so well in this dish but still provide just the right contrast of neutrality to keep the dish from being overpowering?
You may ask why you don’t see any carrots in this dish. Well, we used up all our veggies before we left so we came back to an empty fridge and dry goods. We did a quick market run on Saturday, but with my body and brain being in that weird vacation / work limbo state, we simply got the veggies that we could think of. Carrots did not make the cut. Sorry doc. Carrots are NOT what’s up. My ever efficient husband also gave away all of our garlic, onions and potatoes before trip without telling me, so ‘where’s waldo’ this pic all you want for minced garlic…you won’t find it! Although this batch isn’t perfect, using the recipe as listed will give you a perfect result.
Although I advocate using this recipe exactly as is, it is also very forgiving.
Check out my adaptations below:
1. In this case, I added frozen peas to up the veggie factor since I didn’t have carrots.
2. I usually use Chow mein noodles instead of Chinese Wheat noodles.
3. I tend to use whatever amount is in the packet for certain ingredients – e.g. chow mein comes in packs of 16g. These are close enough to the original recipe to not taste a huge difference.
4. Although the Recipe says ‘Serves 4’, it had worked for lunch once and dinner twice for both me and Rabin (for you non mathematicians, that’s 6 servings) plus we still have enough for another serving. It could be that we eat like birds or the chow mein ends up giving you a much larger volume.
So make a big pot this weekend, or make it Sunday night and coast through the first few days of the following week. Whatever you do, have a great weekend and be happy!