Contrary to popular belief, not eating meat doesn’t severely limit an individual’s dinner options. Plants don’t need the addition of meat to make a meal: they can dominate the menu single-handedly. In a time when consumption of meat is partly responsible for a slew of health and environmental problems, switch out your chicken breasts for a more eco-friendly alternative. And calm your cries of ‘What about the protein’ – plant foods such as nuts and tofu pack a real punch in this department, as well as being more affordable and kinder to the planet. This stir-fry uses a simple combination of spices in place of a pre-made sauce, for optimum flavour: perfect for Meatless Monday, or on any day of the week, for that matter.
- One garlic clove
- 3cm piece of ginger
- Fresh red chilli, as much as preferable
- Two spring onions
- Nest of wholewheat noodles
- Half a green or red pepper
- Handful of mangetout
- Handful of mushrooms
- Soy sauce
- Rice wine vinegar
- 100g firm tofu, such as Cauldron’s
- Handful of cashew nuts
- Begin by finely chopping the garlic, chilli, and spring onions. Use a knife to carefully remove the outer skin of the ginger before grating.
- Thinly slice the mushrooms and pepper.
- Drain and wrap the tofu in a tea towel. Place under a heavy item (a sack of pasta or potatoes, for example) for fifteen minutes, to press out moisture. Afterwards, cut into squares.
- Heat a glug of oil in a wok (sunflower is a good option, with its high smoking point – but peanut oil gives a subtle nutty taste): once it begins to smoke, add tofu and fry until browned on each side. Remove from the pan and set it on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.
- Add another glug of oil, heat, then add the onions and spices. Keep everything moving to prevent burning.
- After thirty seconds, when the spices are aromatic, add the peppers. If you’re using other vegetables which take longer to cook, such as broccoli, put these in before the others. Stir fry for two minutes, or until softened.
- Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to packet instructions.
- Add mushrooms, and fry until well-coloured. Tip in the mangetout last.
- Finally, add the tofu and drained noodles to the pan. Drizzle with a few tablespoonfuls of soy sauce, and one tablespoonful of rice wine vinegar. Use a knife and spoon to incorporate noodles and vegetables well.
- Serve in bowls, topped with crushed cashew nuts.
TIP: For crispy tofu, coat in a tablespoon of cornflour before frying.