Thursday, January 05, 2017

Kung Pao Tofu

I probably make Kug Pao Tofu for dinner every couple of weeks. I make it with chicken sometimes, too, but the Sergeant prefers tofu.

It's a good dish for a small dinner party (4-6 people), because most of it can be prepped ahead of time. It can be made completely vegetarian, too (but I think it's better with chicken broth and real oyster sauce).

Here's my recipe, pasted from Pepperplate.

Kung Pao Chicken or Tofu

Loosely based on a recipe from the inaugural issue of Cook's Country.
 Serves 4-6, depending on the quantity of vegetables you add


  • For the sauce

    • 1 can low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
    • 6 tablespoons oyster sauce (a vegetarian version is available in Asian markets)
    • 3 teaspoons hot sauce (sriracha)
    • 4 teaspoons corn starch
  • For the Vegetables & Protein

    • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
    • OR 1 block extra-firm tofu, cubed, drained and dried
    • Vegetable oil
    • 1 cup dry-roasted peanuts, unsalted (cashews work, too)
    • 2 carrots
    • 2 celery stalks
    • 1 red bell pepper
    • 1 yellow bell pepper
    • 1 yellow squash or zucchini
    • 1 small red onion
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • Optional Additions

    • Water chestnuts
    • Baby corn
    • Snow peas or sugar snap peas


    1. Make the sauce by combining the listed ingredients in a jar and shaking vigorously. Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
    2. Heat up 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet or wok and throw in the chicken and peanuts. When the chicken is lightly browned, remove it and the peanuts from the pan and set aside.
    3. If using tofu instead of chicken, sear the tofu first, then toast the peanuts. Set aside.
    4. Heat another tablespoon of oil and sautée the red onion and carrot until soft and caramelized.
    5. Add bell pepper and celery and cook more.
    6. Add squash or zucchini and cook a little more. (This is also where I add any optional, tender ingredients such as snow peas.)
    7. Add minced garlic cloves and ginger and cook 30 seconds until fragrant.
    8. Shake the sauce vigorously, stir it in and bring to a boil.
    9. Add the chicken or tofu and peanuts, gently stir to coat, then cook for a few more minutes until the sauce thickens. Serve with rice.


You can prepare the sauce and cut up all vegetables and tofu a day ahead of time, but don't mince the garlic and ginger until just before you start cooking. 

Add more sriracha to the sauce if you like, or spice it up at the table with red pepper flakes (my husband makes his own out of Thai chiles or Chinese dried chiles). 

This makes a lot of food, but it freezes well. You can freeze portions of rice to go with it for a grab-and-go lunch. 


  1. Good to see you back on the blog world. Your kung pao tofu looks delicious, I hope I will get to make them soon. Cheers!

  2. Hey, Blue! Good to see you. Try the recipe. It's easy and tasty.