Kung Pao Tofu is an excellent Chinese food option for individuals who follow a Vegetarian diet. This recipe can be adapted using chicken for those who cannot stand the thought of tofu. However, before you turn up your nose, give this recipe a try. Tofu takes on the flavor of the ingredients it's cooked with. When properly cooked few people notice any difference in texture or flavor.
Use extra-firm tofu when preparing Kung Pao Tofu; otherwise the tofu will crumble when cooked. And, if you chicken out (no pun intended), instructions for preparing this popular Chinese dish with chicken are listed at the bottom of this recipe. Simply cook the chicken first, then follow the recipe below.
KUNG PAO TOFU RECIPE
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 5-8 minutes
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Tamari or Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons Honey
1 teaspoon Arrowroot or Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh Ginger, minced
2 teaspoons dried Red Pepper flakes
1 green Bell Pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 red Bell Pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 small yellow Onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound Extra Firm Tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup dry roasted Peanuts
4 cups cooked Rice (white, brown, Jasmine)
1) In a small bowl, mix together Balsamic vinegar, Tamari (or soy sauce), honey and sesame oil. Set aside.
2) Mix arrowroot (or cornstarch) with small amount of water until smooth. Add to sauce mixture and stir ingredients until well blended. Set aside.
3) Heat a large, heavy pan or Wok over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.
4) Remove pan from heat and carefully add olive oil. Return to burner and heat oil for about 30 seconds or until it reaches the smoking point.
5) Add garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 10 seconds and stir frequently.
6) Add green and red peppers and onions. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring frequently until crisp-tender.
7) Add tofu and gently stir to incorporate with vegetables. Cook for 2 minutes.
8) Add sauce and gently stir to incorporate ingredients. Continue stirring and cook until sauce boils and thickens, about 30 seconds.
9) Add peanuts; stir to mix.
10) Remove from heat and serve over rice.
KUNG PAO CHICKEN RECIPE - Option #2
1) Replace tofu with 8-ounces of skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes.
2) In medium saucepan, bring 1-1/2 cups water to boil.
3) Add chicken, stirring constantly to avoid sticking.
4) Reduce heat to low and simmer until chicken turns white and cooked through; about 2 minutes.
5) Drain chicken in colander set over a bowl. Set aside.
6) Reserve 1/4 cup of this cooking liquid and add to the vinegar, soy sauce, honey mixture.
7) Follow directions in the recipe above and replace the tofu with chicken when called for.