Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kung Pao Tofu

Kung Pao Tofu 

Several people have asked me for some recipes so I'm going to share tonight's dinner.  I swear I will share the bean soup recipe soon.

Kung Pao Tofu

So, before you look at this recipe, it is important to know that I don't ever make a recipe from a cookbook exactly as specified.  Also, I rarely measure and therefore I never make something exactly the same way twice.

Five and a half years ago when Carrie and I went to China to get Grace I fell in love with real Chinese food. I say REAL because Chinese food in China compared to here in the states is like comparing Taco Bell to a real Mexican food restaurant.  The exception being the restaurants in a big city Chinatown, like San Francisco, N.Y. or even Houston.  We ate Chinese food three times a day for three weeks and I never got tired of it.  I also never saw General Tso Chicken or Kung Pao Chicken on any menu.  With that said I decided to make a vegetarian version of the classic American style Kung Pao Chicken without the meat and most of the oil.  The oil in tonight's version could easily be cut in half.  Here I am going to give you the low fat, vegan version, as I will make it next time.

Ingredients to feed four adults:

1 pkg of firm or extra firm tofu.
2 cups of each of the following:
     white onions
     thin sliced carrots
     bell pepper (I prefer red, and they were cheap this week)
1 cup of low salt or unsalted dry roasted peanuts
soy sauce
fresh garlic
fresh ginger (finely minced)
vegetable broth
cooking spray
Kung Pao sauce ( I used a store bought version this time but it had too much sugar, next time I will look up a low calorie version on line and make it myself)

Step 1:
Remove the tofu from it's package and press it.  Below is a video link to show you how to do it.  Please do a better job than she did in cutting it.  Also, a large pot full of water makes a better weight. 

Step 2: 
Dice the tofu into 3/4 inch cubes
Flavor the tofu by soaking it in a solution of :
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1-2 Tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp of minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger

This solution should be mostly absorbed in less than an hour.

Cook on a shallow baking sheet at 350 for 15 minutes.

Steps one and two can be done days ahead.

Step 3:
Normally I use a wok and a cajun cooker when I make stir fry. It is the only way I know to get large amounts of watery vegetables to sear and caramelize, which is how you get an authentic Chinese flavor.  If you don't have a wok make sure you cook in a nonstick pan and cook in much smaller batches.  As it is, I make this recipe in two batches, one mild for the kids and one spicy for Carrie and me.

Dice the vegetables ahead of time and have them ready when you start to cook.

Coat the wok with cooking spray.  
Heat wok until it starts to smoke.
Add the onions, stir for 20 seconds.
Add the carrots, stir for 20 seconds.
Add the peppers, stir for 20 seconds.
Add the celery, stir for 20 seconds.
Add the Kung Pao Sauce and cook down until it becomes thick, usually two minutes.
Sprinkle and stir in the peanuts.
Turn off the heat.

Serve over rice.

As made, this recipe cuts out more than 95% of the oil.


Kitty Kat loved it, especially the Tofu!

PS: Is anyone in my neck of the woods interested in taking a vegan cooking class from me?  Please let me know. 

1 comment:

  1. Looks good. I never thought of using a pot of water to press tofu. I always put a wood cutting board on top of the tofu and put a few dumbbells on top of the cutting board. The water makes much more sense. Thanks.