Kung Pao is a traditional Chinese sauce used to make Kung Pao chicken. It’s a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, salt, sugar, wine and cornstarch. Generally the chicken is marinated and fried and added to the sauce to make Kung Pao chicken. But being a vegetarian I am going to make Kung Pao Tofu. Tofu which is known for its high protein is also called as bean curd. It’s made by coagulating soy milk and making blocks. It’s available in firm, extra firm, extra soft or soft categories. I have used extra firm here. It’s better to go with extra firm as it’s very delicate. These days it has become substitute to Indian Paneer. Though Paneer is also rich and has protein and calcium but tofu has high number of protein in it. Now let’s get back to the recipe. So Kung Pao Tofu is simply crispy Tofu in Kung Pao Sauce served with steamed hot rice. For taste add peanuts for crunch and toasted sesame seeds to garnish.
- 1 block /pound Tofu
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tbsp red wine (optional)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 5 tbsp water
- 3 tbsp oil to shallow fry tofu
- 2-3 dry red pepper whole
- Veggies chopped of your choice (I have used onions, you can add shallots, green onions, beans, broccoli)
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- ¼ inch ginger sliced
- 2 tbsp peanuts
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp oil (I have used toasted sesame oil and red chili oil combination)
- Take a pan and add sesame seeds. Toast until golden brown and take them out.
- Cut the cubes of tofu and in the same pan add oil. When oil is hot add tofu cubes and fry until golden brown from all 4 sides. This process will take time make sure your heat is between medium to high not on very high. We need tofu to be golden brown and not burnt.
- Now take out tofu and in the same pan with the oil on it add the peanuts and toast until you see some golden brown spots on them. Take this out too.
- Now it’s time to make Kung Pao Sauce first. In a bowl, add soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, corn starch, water and wine if using. Mix all this and make a sauce.
- Heat the pan and add oil. Now when the oil is hot add in the dried red pepper, ginger and garlic stir it for 10 sec. Now add in the veggies and cooked for 30 sec or so we don’t have to cook it much as we want veggies to be crunchy. Add pinch of salt too.
- Time to add in the sauce. Add and mix all together. And now add the tofu and peanuts. Cook this for a min on high flame and turn it off now.
Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve hot with steamed rice. Generally in china it’s served with the sticky rice and for making it spicy red chili paste is served. But you can go ahead and eat normal white or brown rice with it.
If you feel the sauce is not watery you may add little water and little soy sauce. If you are adding broccoli or any other hard veggies you have to give time to veggies to cook but make sure not to overcook it. The more properly the tofu is fried the crunchier it would be. You can either fry them simply like how I did without marinating. If you want to marinate, add a tbsp of soy sauce and a tbsp of corn flour in a bowl and mix this with tofu. Leave it on counter for 15-20 min and now either shallow fry or deep fry them. To add the spiciness add 1 slit green chili instead of red chili sauce. As chili sauce is not used in this recipe.