This Easy Kung Pao Tofu recipe tastes better than take-out and can be made pretty quickly at home! Make the sauce in one bowl, cook your tofu until crispy in a pan, stir fry the veggies, then add the sauce and peanuts. A delicious weeknight meal!
What is Kung Pao?
Kung Pao chicken or tofu is a popular Chinese dish in America, usually made with dried red chiles. It has a complex flavor profile that is super addicting! Salty, sweet, sour and spicy.. Yum.
This recipe for Easy Kung Pao Tofu isn’t really traditional AT ALL, because I just can’t be bothered with dried red chiles. But I think this version turned out super delicious and it’s really easy so I’m happy. Hopefully you will be, too!
How do you press tofu and why?
Pressing tofu is pretty essential if you are going to pan fry it. If the tofu is full of water, it will be nearly impossible to stir fry even with a lot of oil. It will stick to the pan and just not taste very good at all.
Press tofu by wrapping it in paper towels or a clean tea towel and setting something heavy on top of it, like a cast iron pan or a few heavy books. Or get fancy and buy a tofu press. Let it press for about an hour if possible.
You can avoid pressing tofu if you buy the super firm variety that is sealed in a vaccum pack, not in water. Just pat that one dry and you’ll be good to go.
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This Easy Kung Pao Tofu recipe tastes better than take-out and can be made pretty quickly at home! Make the sauce in one bowl, cook your tofu until crispy, cook the veggies, then add the sauce and peanuts. Delicious weeknight meal!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil*
- (1) 16-oz block extra-firm tofu
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 large green bell pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup peanuts
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free)
- 2 tablespoons rice wine or sherry cooking wine
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
- sesame seeds
- more peanuts
- 4 cups cooked brown or white rice
Press the tofu by wrapping in paper towels or a clean dish towel, and set something heavy on top (like a cast iron pan or a few heavy books). Let it sit for an hour, if possible.
Slice the bell peppers and set aside.
Make the sauce: In a medium bowl, add all sauce ingredients and whisk well to combine.
Slice the pressed tofu into 3/4 inch cubes.
In a large skillet, heat the oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add the tofu in a single layer. Let cook for 5 minutes on one side, then carefully flip the pieces with a spatula and cook for a few more minutes on each side, until the tofu are golden and crispy on all sides. Remove from the pan and set on a plate while you cook the vegetables.
In the hot pan, add the bell peppers and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Now add the Kung Pao sauce and stir constantly until it thickens. Lower the heat.
Add the peanuts and crispy tofu and stir, then turn off the heat.
Serve over brown or white rice, and garnish with green onions, sesame seeds or more peanuts.
-For oil free, make sure you have a very high quality non-stick pan. Dry the tofu very well before cooking. OR bake it following the directions in this recipe.
-Nutrition facts do not include rice.