Feb 222012

I find that in the winter, I do a lot more sitting on my tush and ordering delivery than getting off my tush and cooking.  My latest takeout obsession has been this thai food, particularly this cashew chili sauce they make at my neighborhood spot.  So I decided to recreate it last week.  I was so excited about how close this came to the original that Bodhi Tree should be worried they might lose a customer.  Plus, in my kitchen, they don’t charge $2 extra for brown rice!

I was so shocked at how easy this recipe was.  Sure, I had to buy a few ingredients I don’t usually have in my pantry (dried chiles, oyster sauce, chili paste), but it was so worth it because I know I’ll make this one over and over.  I made it this time with tofu because I had a block with the expiration date ticking away in my fridge, but you could easily make this with chicken or shrimp too.  I broiled the tofu first in the oven just to get the edges crisp.  

Then you make the sauce in a hot walk and let the veggies simmer while the sauce reduces.  Add back in the tofu and finish off with the chiles, cashews, and scallions and there you have it.  

Nutritional Highlights: By making this at home, I had control over many things I don’t when I order take out.  The amount of oil used, the ability to add tons of extra veggies, and also confidence in the quality of the ingredients I’m using.  This meal served over brown rice is an incredibly healthy meal.  It’s especially great for vegetarians that are looking for a little extra protein and substance which comes from the cashews.

Thai Cashew Chili Sauce with Tofu or Chicken or Shrimp 

 Serves 4

2 tbs. canola oil, divided
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 1/2 tbs. Thai chili paste
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Other vegetables I used: An extra yellow pepper, baby bok choy, mushrooms, zucchini
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tbs. sugar (I cut back to 2 tsp)
6 dried red chiles (such as chiles de arbol)
1/2 cup dry roasted, unsalted cashews
5 scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
Steamed brown rice, for serving

Heat 1 tbs. oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken, season with salt and pepper and stir fry until cooked through. Put the chicken in a bowl and set aside. Repeat with 1 tbs. of the oil and the rest of the chicken. (Or if using tofu, drain tofu of as much water as possible, spray lightly with canola oil, and broil for 10 minutes per side or until tofu is browned and crisp).

Add the remaining oil to the empty skillet and heat. Add the chili paste, stirring constantly to break it up for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, red bell pepper, onion, any other vegetables, oyster sauce and sugar. Stir well and simmer for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, return the chicken to the skillet and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened and the vegetables are tender, about 5-10 minutes. Add the chiles, cashews and scallions, stir to combine and serve immediately over rice.

  3 Responses to “Thai Cashew Chili Sauce with Tofu”

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Not really vegetarian with the oyster sauce. Can it be omitted? What’s a good alternative sauce?

  3. I agree… I’ve been having a hard time trying to find any vegetarian oyster sauce…

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