More Experiments with Bean Curd...Kung Pao Tofu (a variation on a theme)

So this is really a variation on a few levels. One is that it is sort of a variation of this tofu recipe, and another is that it is a variation--or my interpretation--of Kung Pao Chicken. How this recipe is different from the original Kung Pao Chicken is that I of course replaced the chicken with tofu, and I also added asparagus to make it a one-skillet meal. And what's different from the other tofu recipe that I mentioned, in this one I baked the tofu rather than fry it. The outcome is pretty much the same other than it takes longer and has a lower fat content. And just as with the other recipe, if you'd like to make this vegan simply replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.

Kung Pao Tofu with Asparagus

Serves 4

Tofu Marinade:
2 (14oz) packages extra firm tofu
¼ cup sherry
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch

For the Sauce:
¼ cup chicken broth
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon sesame oil

For the Stir-Fry:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 small red bell pepper, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
8 whole dried chilies, stems removed
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and sliced on the bias
3 green onions, sliced
1 cup unsalted peanuts

Drain the tofu, quarter it lengthwise, and slice it into ½” thick rectangles. Then lay it in a single layer in a shallow pan. Mix the sherry, soy, and cornstarch together and pour it over the tofu. Allow the tofu to marinate for at least 30 minutes, but as long as over night, turning it to absorb marinade. Drain the tofu and transfer it to a baking sheet that is fitted with a wire rack. Preheat an oven to 350F and bake the tofu for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Mix the sauce ingredients by combining the chicken broth (or water or vegetable broth if you want to keep it vegan), sugar, soy, vinegar, cornstarch, and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside.

To assemble the recipe, heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat and add the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and sesame oil. When the oil just begins to smoke, add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, ginger, and whole chilies. Cook these ingredients for a minute or two, until the garlic just begins to brown and the air is fragrant with spice, then add the asparagus and cook a minute longer. Stir the sauce ingredients then add it to the wok or skillet. Bring it to a boil, it should thicken quickly (if it becomes too thick add a splash of broth). Add the cooked tofu, green onions, and peanuts. Carefully fold the ingredients into the sauce (trying not to break the tofu). Remove from the heat and serve with steamed rice.

Urban Simplicity.


Felix Lee said…
I am not really fond of tofu, but seems interesting to try.