For variety, serve this stir-fry over couscous or Chinese wheat-flour noodles rather than rice. With the cashews, you can gently fold in about 8 ounces of firm or extra-firm tofu cut into ½-inch cubes.
2 tbsp. cold water
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 ½ c. vegetable stock or water
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. dark (Asian) sesame oil
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
Dash of ground white pepper, or to taste
2 tbsp. canola oil
3 c. asparagus in 2-inch lengths
4 scallions, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c. raw cashews
Toasted sesame seeds and mandarin orange segments for garnish
Stir together the water and cornstarch in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in the remaining sauce ingredients; set aside.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet or a wok over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus, scallions, bell pepper, and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium. Stir the sauce mixture; pour it over the vegetables and stir gently until it is thickened and bubbly, about 1 minute. Fold in the cashews. Taste and adjust the seasoning.