This kung pao tofu recipe combines a rich and flavorful Kung Pao sauce with crispy pan-fried tofu and tender stir-fried veggies. It’s delicious all on its own or paired with rice or noodles.
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- The sauce is rich and complex and just a little spicy and just a little sweet. It’s SO simple, though, that you’ll seriously wonder why you’ve never made it before now.
- We coat the tofu in a little cornstarch and then pan-fry it so it develops this amazingly crisp outer layer. The texture is so nice with the vegetables, and then you get a totally different sort of crunch from the peanut garnish. Delish!
- To get really crispy tofu, you have to press out the liquid first, even from a block of extra firm tofu. It’s really easy to do, though. You just need something heavy to set on top of it! Layer the tofu between paper towels, then place something with a good weight on top. I like to place a cutting board on top of the top layer of paper towels, and then a decent-weight cookbook or a couple of cans of soup or vegetables on top of the cutting board. That distributes the pressure evenly and consistently. Now just let it sit for 30 minutes or so!
- If you like your dish more on the mild side of the heat spectrum, don’t slice open the red chilis! Seriously, slicing them open will give you a LOT of heat, so if you’re at all heat sensitive, don’t do it. You can just toss the chilies in whole and stir-fry them like that. If you’re really heat averse, remove them from the dish before eating it.
More Vegan Recipes to Try
- Vegan Seitan “Chicken”
- Vegan Enchiladas
- Seitan Grilled Chicken with Vegan BBQ Sauce
- The BEST Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Easy Vegan Lemon Curd
For the Tofu
- 14 ounces extra-firm tofu pressed well and cubed
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ⅓ teaspoon salt or one heaping ¼ teaspoon
- 3 tablespoon neutral oil for cooking
For the Sauce
For the Stir-Fry Vegetables
- 3 red chilis sliced, see Notes
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1-inch long piece ginger grated
- 1 small green bell pepper chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper chopped
- 1 small white onion chopped
- sliced green onions
- chopped cilantro
- Large bowl
- Large skillet
- Medium bowl
- plate or bowl
- Place cubed tofu in large bowl. Add cornstarch and salt, then toss to coat well. Set aside.
- Heat neutral oil in large skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot and shimmering, add tofu cubes. Cook, flipping and stirring periodically, until crisp and browned on all sides.
- While tofu cooks, add all sauce ingredients to medium bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine. Set aside.
- Transfer cooked tofu to plate or bowl and set aside. Add red chilis, garlic, and ginger to now-empty skillet and sauté until just fragrant.
- Add bell peppers and onion to skillet. Sauté until vegetables are softened, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
- Return tofu to skillet and pour in prepared sauce. Stir well to coat, then let simmer 4 to 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Serve immediately with desired garnishes and sides.
- Red Chilies: For a milder dish, don’t slice the red chilies! Just cook them as-is. You can remove them before eating for the least amount of heat.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.