Kung Pao is so popular as a Chinese takeout dish. I used to love the chicken version years ago, and I can recreate exactly the same thing using tofu. My Kung Pao Tofu is quick, easy and vegan to boot.
Some recipes are very versatile like that. All you have to do is replace the protein or omit it altogether and you still have the essence of the original dish. Some recipes, not so much!
Luckily, Kung Pao Tofu is an easy one and perfect for weeknights or lazy weekends.
This is a spicy dish but you can control the heat when you make it at home. There are three main components of the Kung Pao for me. The celery, the dry red chilies and the peanuts. These absolutely cannot be replaced. Then the pepper and carrot are also a must, but you could do without them in a bind.
The sauce gets its flavor from ginger/ garlic, and celery and chili. A basic brown sauce is sufficient here making this stir fry very easy to make.
You can use more or less celery depending on the type available. The ones with the broad ribs, the kind you can stuff are relatively milder. The organic celery is stronger. And the celery we get in India is highly potent and very thin. Even a little of this gives a lot of pungent flavor.
Like any vegetarian dish, this one is flexible with respect to which veggies to use. Use anything you would use in a stir fry, and go with what you have on hand.
I made this very spur of the moment, and didn’t take any good photos as I am battling a cold. But I just wanted to post this recipe. So I am going with the snaps I have now, as crude as they are! ( You may have noticed, I am making an attempt to improve the qualities of the photos on the blog).
So the next time you crave Chinese food, give this Kung Pao a try!
Kung Pao Tofu Recipe
Kung Pao Tofu is an easy vegan Chinese stir fry dinner. Loaded with veggies, tofu and peanuts, the sauce is hot and spicy from chilies and celery. Must try!
- 1/2 cup onions cubed
- 1/2 cup carrots cubed
- 1/2 cup green pepper cubed
- 1/2 cup zucchini cubed
- 1 cup broccoli cubed
- 1/2 cup celery chopped
- 3-4 dry red chilies
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 pack extra firm tofu cubed
- 1/2 cup Kikkoman Soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tbsp corn starch
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp vinegar
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1-2 drops toasted sesame oil
- Wash and cut all vegetables in similar sized pieces and set aside.
- Cube the tofu in chunks of desired size. You can either shallow fry and drain this or use it as it is.
- Heat the oil in a wok.
- Add the garlic and red chili and fry for a minute.
- Add celery and fry a minute.
- Now add carrots and onions and mix in.
- Add peppers and zucchini
- Whisk together all sauce ingredients and add to wok.
- Bring the sauce to a boil.
- Add tofu and broccoli and simmer for a minute or two.
- Add salt only if needed and switch off heat.
- Now add the peanuts.
- Serve immediately with steamed rice or noodles.
Ready under 20 minutes, you can’t get takeout faster than that. Serve over brown or white rice or even over bulgur for a hearty and healthy vegan meal.