Start by preparing the rice/quinoa/noodles that you intend to accompany the dish, and keep in mind that the vegetables should be served immediately when ready. Put slightly salted water on to boil in a large pot for blanching the vegetables. Cut the tofu into 1-cm (½-inch) cubes and place in a bowl with the grated ginger, soy sauce and a sprinkle of chilli powder to marinate. To speed up the process, heat the tofu slightly, either in the microwave oven or in a small saucepan over very low heat, without allowing it to boil. Stir a few times to make sure the tofu marinates evenly. Trim the beans/snow peas and cut them in 5-cm (1-inch) long pieces. Separate the broccoli head into small florets and slice the stems. Blanch the beans in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Begin counting blanching time once the water returns to a boil, then add the broccoli florets and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain and cool rapidly under cold running water and drain thoroughly. Trim the spring onions, slice them roughly, separating the white and green parts. Remove the core and seeds from the red pepper and slice finely. Peel the carrots and slice them finely diagonally. Peel and slice the garlic clove. Heat the oil in a wok or a large non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat. Scatter in the cashew nuts and toast them for 2 minutes, then add the white part of the spring onions and garlic and cook for one minute more. Add the red pepper and carrots, and cook for 3 minutes while stirring. Add the tofu with its marinade, beans and broccoli, toss well and add a couple of tablespoons of water if necessary. Continue stir-frying 3 – 4 minutes until vegetables are tender but still crisp. Sprinkle over the sesame oil and green part of the spring onions, taste and season with soy sauce and chilli powder, if desired. Arrange the stir-fried vegetable on top of your rice or quinoa, or mix them with the noodles. Serve immediately.
Stir-frying is an excellent way to prepare a quick, tasty meal based on any vegetables you like. Most vegetables can be cooked this way, but keep in mind to start with the vegetables that need longer cooking, adding the others bit by bit. The brief cooking allows vegetables to retain most of their nutrients and their bright colours, enhancing the visual aspect of the dish. Tofu, also known as bean curd, has a low calorie count and large amounts of protein, around 15 g on 100 g of firm tofu (soft/silken tofu contains less than half), making it an excellent protein source, not only for vegans and vegetarians, but for anyone who wants protein-rich food without unhealthy fats and cholesterol. (By comparison, beef contains about 18 g of proteins on a 100-gram serving of lean steak and as little as 15 g for minced meat.) It is high in iron, calcium and magnesium, and contains nutrients that can help in lowering the LDL “bad” cholesterol.