Bright green snow peas – often used in Asian stir-fries – are not to be confused with snap peas. Both are part of the legume family of sugar peas and have edible pods. Snow peas are flat with tiny seeds that are barely visible through the pods. Sugar snap pods are plump, with visible peas. Low in calories and high in Vitamins A and C, snow peas are a great addition to a healthy diet.
Very versatile and one of the easiest vegetables to prepare, snow peas can be enjoyed au natural, added to salads, served raw with any kind of dip, or sautéed and buttered. Before cooking or eating them, there are two things to do: rinse them in water, then grab or cut the tip of each snow pea and pull out the tough string that runs along its side.
No matter how you cook them – boiling, steaming, stir-frying or blanching – snow peas need only one to three minutes. Quick cooking will also retain their vibrant color and vitamins.
Once picked, peas’ high sugar content starts to decline, causing them to lose much of their sweetness and become starchy and dull, so it’s best to eat them within a couple of days of receiving them. In the meantime, store pods and shoots separately in a perforated plastic bags in the crisper drawer.
Tofu Stir-Fry with Snow Peas and Mushrooms
For the sauce:
- 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons corn starch
For the stir-fry:
- 3-5 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1/3 cup corn starch
- 1 block (14 ounces) extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 10 ounces baby bell or white button mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered
- 8 ounces snow peas, ends trimmed
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
- 6-8 spring onions, roots removed and cut into 2-inch strips
Mix the broth, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sugar in a measuring cup. Whisk in the cornstarch until dissolved and set aside.
In a wok or saute pan, heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil until it shimmers but doesn't smoke.
In a shallow bowl toss half of the tofu chunks with the cornstarch, making sure all sides are coated. When the oil is hot, add the tofu to the pan and let sit without stirring for one minute. Stir the tofu to flip the sides and let set for another minute.
Continue until all sides are golden (about 5-7 minutes) and then remove the tofu to a clean plate. Add another tablespoon of oil and repeat with remaining tofu.
(Note: the tofu will likely absorb all the oil. That's ok. If the tofu starts to burn, lower the heat and stir more frequently until golden brown.)
Add another Tablespoon of oil to the pan and stir-fry the mushrooms until they have released all their moisture.
Once the moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms are a deep earthy brown, add the snow peas and stir-fry until bright green and still crunchy (al dente), 1-2 minutes.
Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Whisk the sauce again to re-distribute the cornstarch and pour into the pan with the mushrooms and snow peas. Stir the veggies frequently and allow the sauce to come to a boil until it's thickened as much as you like it, 10-15 minutes.
Just before serving, stir in the spring onions and tofu.
Note: if you'd like crispier tofu, serve the tofu on top of the stir-fry instead of stirring it in.
Snow Peas with Toasted Almonds
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed
- 2 teaspoons minced shallot
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and cook until golden and fragrant and butter begins to brown, stirring frequently, about 11/2 minutes. Add snow peas and shallot; sauté until snow peas are crisp-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; add lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and serve.