Kung Pao is a classic.
It appears in a few different varieties throughout China, but the dish originated in the Sichuan Province.
Therefore, you can’t really call it Kung Pao without using the incredible Sichuan peppercorns.
These fiery little pepper bombs are totally unique and they give this stir-fry its distinctive spicy aroma.
You’ll find them in some supermarkets nowadays.
If not, head to your local Asian supermarket. It’ll totally be worth the effort.
There’s also some debate on how they should be used. Some restaurants in China will simply crush them and throw ’em into the stir-fry.
This means more flavour, but it also means you’ll be picking out ‘gritty’ bits of the husks from your teeth.
So the cooking method requires a little effort, but trust us…you’ll be very happy with the results.
Here are a couple of things you need to know:
- You’re probably wondering…’can I use normal peppercorns’? The short answer is yes – simply grind 1/2 tsp of black peppercorns and add them towards the end – but it’ll be a completely different dish! It’ll still taste lovely, but you won’t get that authentic Kung Pao flavour.
- As with all stir-fries, it’s easy to overcook the veggies. Less is more, so keep an eye on the peppers and if in doubt, reduce the cooking time slightly to make sure they keep their crunch.
How to make Kung Pao Tofu 🥣 We’re planting a tree in the Amazon for every pre-order of our new cookbook ONE POT VEGAN! Order yours today 👉 sovegan.co/onepvPosted by So Vegan on Thursday, 4 June 2020
Kung Pao TofuBen, So Vegan Kung Pao is a classic. It appears in a few different varieties throughout China, but the dish originated in the Sichuan Province.… Print This
- 2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
- 300g firm tofu
- salt and pepper
- 4 tbsp cornflour
- coconut oil, for frying
- 1/2 thumb of ginger
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 3 spring onions
- 1 red pepper
- 1 green pepper
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil, or tamari for gluten-free
- 5 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1.5 tbsp maple syrup
- jasmine rice
- handful of salted peanuts
- Pick out and discard any black seeds from the Sichuan peppercorns, then add the remaining ‘husks’ (outer shells) to a wok on a medium heat and toast for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Transfer them to a pestle and mortar, crush until fine, then push them through a sieve to remove any large gritty pieces. Set aside for later.
- Remove the tofu from its packaging and press if needed to remove excess liquid. Then dice the tofu into 2cm wide cubes. Transfer the cornstarch to a mixing bowl along with generous pinches of salt and pepper, then add the cubes of tofu to the bowl and toss with your hands until fully coated.
- Wipe out the wok from earlier, set it on a medium-high heat and add a generous spoonful of coconut oil. Once melted, add the tofu and fry for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally or until golden on all sides (adding more oil if needed).
- Next cook the rice as per the packet instructions.
- Meanwhile peel and dice the garlic and ginger and roughly chop the spring onion. Remove the seeds from the peppers and cut into bite-size pieces.
- Once the tofu is ready, remove it from the wok and leave to one side in a bowl. Next add a tsp of coconut oil to the wok, followed by the garlic, ginger and chilli flakes. Fry for 2 minutes. Then add the peppers and fry for 3 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients including the Sichuan pepper to the wok and cook through for a few minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when you run a wooden spoon through the sauce and it doesn’t immediately combine back together.
- Roughly chop the peanuts and add them the wok along with the tofu and spring onion. Stir to combine, then serve on a bed of rice.