Kung pao tofu
Kung pao or kung po is one of the popular Chinese stir fry entree commonly ordered in all Chinese restaurants. It is prepared by stir frying any protein with peanuts and vegetables in a spicy and a glossy sauce. Kung pao tofu is derived from kung pao chicken in which tofu is browned and coated with sauce and added with the stir fried vegetables and roasted peanuts. Yes , it is a vegan or vegetarian alternative of kung pao chicken!!
Kung pao is originally from Szechwan or Sichuan cuisines of China and the main spice element of this dish was Sichuan pepper corns but in America it is made without Sichuan peppers as it was banned for few years. Although now the ban is being removed but the Kung pao has already gained its popularity without it.
Tofu is Soy based product and is getting popular these days and for good reasons. It is a very good source of protein, iron and calcium. Tofu's protein provides all the essential amino acids needed for any healthy diet.
The main vegetables used in any kung pao recipe are carrots, green onions and celery. Along with this you can also use zucchini or broccoli. This vegan recipe is really good when you want to have a special meatless meal.
If you haven't tasted tofu yet and want to try it for the first time, Kung pao tofu is the way to go. I am pretty sure tofu will be on your list of grocery shopping next time.
Yield :- 4 servings
Ingredients for kung pao tofu :-
- 14 oz of tofu, drained
- 2 medium zucchini
- 6 stalks of green onion
- 2 stalk of celery
- 2 medium carrots
- 1/3 cup of roasted peanuts
- 6-8 dry red chillies
- 1 Tbsp of chopped ginger
- 5 big garlic cloves, chopped
- 2-3 Tbsp of oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For kung pao sauce :-
- 3 Tbsp of low sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp of rice wine or sherry wine
- 2 Tbsp of chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1.5 tsp of sesame oil
- 3 Tbsp of veg stock or water
- 1 tsp of chilli paste or red pepper flakes to taste
- 2 tsp of cornflour
Method for kung pao tofu :-
- Drain the tofu well and wrap it with 3 layers of paper towel and place it over any kitchen towel.
- Place any heavy pan or dutch oven over the wrapped tofu and keep it aside for 15-20 minutes. It will help to remove extra moisture from tofu.
- In a hot pan, dry roast the peanuts over medium heat until it is light brown. Peel off its skin and keep it aside.
- Cube the carrots, zucchini and celery into 1/2 inch pieces. Slice the green onions and seperate the green parts from the white parts.
- In a bowl, mix well all the ingredients listed under the kung pao sauce.
- Now, unwrap the tofu and cut it into squares, about 1 inch dimension. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over the tofu.
- Heat half of the of oil in a non stick pan and cook the tofu until it is golden brown on all sides.
- When tha tofu is done, lower the heat and pour 4 Tbsp of prepared kung pao sauce all over the tofu and simmer for 5 minutes until tofu absorbs all the sauce and looks glossy.
- Then in another pan, heat remaining oil and add dry red chillies and stir for 5 seconds. Then add ginger and again stir for 10 seconds.
- Now add garlic, white part of onions, carrots, celery and zucchini and stir fry until it is cooked but still have crunch; about 5-6 minues.
- Now add the remaining sauce and stir fry again until the sauce is thick .
- Add in the tofu and stir fry for a minutes. Switch off the heat and add the peanuts and green parts of onions.
- Kung pao tofu is done and ready to serve.
Serve kung pao tofu with steamed brown or white rice or rice noodles.