If you’re looking for a quick one-pan dinner, this Kung Pao tofu recipe is a keeper!
We cook with tofu at least once a week, as it is packed with protein and is a versatile canvas for absorbing a variety of flavours. In the case of this recipe, golden-brown pan-fried tofu is lifted by a Kung Pao sauce that is sweet, spicy and savoury! If you always order this dish at your favourite restaurant, it’s time to recreate it easily at home.
The beauty of this recipe is that it is endlessly adaptable to your preference and to what you have in your kitchen. You could toss in any veggies you have lying around in your fridge and/ or swap in the nuts of your choice for that added crunch.
Steps For Making This Kung Pao Tofu
- Prep your tofu: Wrap a block of silken-firm tofu between kitchen towels (placing a small saucepan on top). Let it sit for 30 minutes or so. This extra step helps to drain out the excess water. Pat the tofu dry with clean kitchen towels and slice it. Then coat the tofu pieces with corn flour, for that crispier texture.
- Mix your sauce: While the tofu is resting, whisk together a quick sauce with soy sauce (both light and dark), rice vinegar, hot sauce, sugar and corn flour.
- Cook the tofu: Pan-fry the tofu slices in a shallow layer of oil, flipping halfway to ensure that both sides are golden-brown. Remove the tofu & set aside.
- Toast nuts: Toast a handful of cashews/ peanuts in the same pan in which you cooked the tofu, using the residual heat. Set the nuts aside.
- Stir-fry veggies: Add a splash of sesame oil to the same pan and add a sliced onion, garlic and chopped bell peppers along with any other veggies of choice. Grate some ginger over this and season with sesame seeds and gochugaru/ chilli flakes. Sauté for a few minutes, stirring regularly until fragrant.
- Pour in the sauce: Add the prepared sauce into the same pan as the stir-fried veggies. Let the sauce simmer and thicken, then add back the cooked tofu. Gently stir to combine the tofu into the sauce, taking care to ensure you don’t break the tofu pieces.
- Serve: For a restaurant-style presentation, serve this Kung Pao tofu over rice, garnished with the toasted nuts , sesame seeds & scallions (optional)
Tips For Adapting This Kung Pao Tofu Recipe
- Use your favourite veggies for the stir-fry base, for instance you could also add sliced carrots, green beans and/ or even mushrooms!
- Adjust the spiciness to your threshold, by adding as much or as little chilli flakes as you’d like.
- You could even serve the Kung Pao tofu over an alternative grain or add in noodles to make this into a noodle stir-fry!
More Tofu Recipes You May Enjoy:
If you enjoyed this Kung Pao tofu recipe, you may also like to try these timeless favourites from our archives:
Kung Pao Tofu
- 1 block of silken-firm tofu
- sesame oil for cooking (alternatively use your cooking oil of choice)
- corn flour for coating tofu
- 2-3 tbsp cashews/ peanuts
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ cup chopped bell peppers
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- knob of ginger, grated
- 2-3 tsp sesame seeds (and more for garnish as required)
- 2-3 tsp gochugaru (crushed red pepper flakes) or chilli flakes
- scallions for garnish
For the sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce (you can use more light soy sauce instead)
- 1½ tbsp rice vinegar
- 1-2 tbsp hot sauce of choice (e.g. Sriracha)
- 2-3 tsp sugar
- ½ tbsp corn flour, mixed with 3 tbsp water
Make the sauce
- Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl, mixing well to combine. Set aside.
Prep & cook the tofu
- Wrap a block of silken-firm tofu between kitchen towels (placing a small saucepan on top). Let it sit for 30 minutes or so to drain out the excess water.
- Pat the tofu dry with clean kitchen towels and slice it.
- Optional: coat the tofu slices lightly in corn flour for a more crisp and golden texture.
- Gently heat 2 tbsp of oil in a small pan. Pan-fry tofu until golden brown on both sides (flipping half way).
- Remove the tofu & set aside.
Toast the nuts
- Use the residual heat of the same pan to toast a handful of cashews/ peanuts. Set aside.
Stir-fry veggies and tofu
- Add a tbsp more of sesame oil to the same pan.
- Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, grated ginger and chopped veggies.
- Season with sesame seeds and chilli flakes.
- Stirring regularly, sauté for a few minutes until fragrant. Do not overcook the veggies as we would like them to retain their bite.
- Add the prepared sauce. Let it simmer and thicken, before adding back the tofu. Gently stir to combine the tofu into the sauce, taking care to ensure you don’t break the tofu pieces.
- Serve over rice/ grain of choice, garnished with the toasted nuts , sesame seeds & scallions (optional)
We’d love to hear from you! Do let us know if you try this recipe – you can leave a comment below and/ or tag us in your delicious creations on Instagram @the_foodiediaries.
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