Kung Pao Tofu

Daddy Grumpy:  “You almost burned my lips off” and “What kind of meat is this in here?” and, um, well, you probably don’t want to hear the other comment….

Grumpy:  “It wasn’t bad, but you need to cut the spice next time.”

Did you hear that people?  He said next time!   Yes, my Grumpy knowingly ate tofu and said it wasn’t bad and referred that he would eat it again!  Actually, Daddy Grumpy did say he would eat it again, but he wanted me to not try to kill him with the peppers.  ;o)

I really love this Asian kick I’m on lately.  I’d love to be on an Indian food kick but I’m working on easing it in.  I have almost given up on Mexican food but my friend Lady made these fish tacos with mango salsa that I must try.  She said she would supply the earplugs so I didn’t have to “hear” it from Grumpy when I do make them.  ;o)  However I am beginning to think that he might not be too vocal about not wanting it considering tonight he ate tofu without blinking an eye!

While planning my menu last weekend and searching the foodie sites I came across a recipe for Kung Pao Tofu from The Spiteful Chef.  So, I made a trip to the local Asian Market.  Don’t you love how I say that? lol.  Well we have one, but believe me it’s not large and I have gone many times and not found what I wanted.  This time however I struck gold.  I was able to get the dark and light soy sauce along with the black vinegar.  I also finally got the black sesame seeds I’ve been looking for over 2 months now.  I was happy and excited!

The only mistake I made in making this was I didn’t get rid of the seeds from the peppers.  I used only half of what the recipe called for (or maybe 6 instead of 10) but it was still pretty spicy for Grumpy & his dad.  I didn’t mind so much.  Next time though I will go with 5 peppers, not break them up too small and get rid of the seeds.  That should help cut the heat more.  This was very easy to make.  The most tedious part of the job was chopping all the vegetables.  Everything else went very quickly and was well worth making.  I thought it was perfect the way I ate it and will definitely be making this one again!

Kung Pao Tofu
The Spiteful Chef

1 lb tofu
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 small or 1 medium zucchini, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
2 scallions, diced (white and light green part only-save dark green part for garnish)
1 T ginger, minced
1 T garlic, minced
10 oriental chiles (I used 6)
2 T peanut oil
1/2 C peanuts

2 Tablespoon light soy sauce
2 Tablespoon dark soy sauce
3 Tablespoon black vinegar
1-1/2  Tablespoon cornstarch
5 Tablespoon water
1-1/2 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon sesame oil

Preparation: Dice all of your vegetables and protein to roughly the same size.  Combine all sauce ingredients, stir, and set aside. Season tofu with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium-sized pan til almost smoking. Add ginger and garlic and saute quickly, careful not to burn. Immediately after about 30 seconds add the tofu and saute until crisped.

In a large pan, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. When hot, add carrots and chiles and saute for 1 minute. Add onions and celery and saute for 2 minutes more. Finally, add zucchini and saute for 1 additional minute. When the pan appears dry, add the sauce all at once. Have water nearby in case the sauce thickens too quickly. Add water as necessary to thin sauce.  Stir the sauce and vegetables together to coat, add tofu and stir gently to coat.

Top with nuts and scallions, and serve over white rice.


  1. says

    I've found that the most difficult thing about cooking spicy foods is that one person's "just right" is another persons "too hot" and another person's "not hot enough"

    I tend to make it the way I like it and tell the rest of them that it's the chef's preogative to decide on the heat level. Hey… it's the only perk we get!

  2. says

    wow you are so lucky he was a good sport, no one would try this, I did the same thing once not as pretty as this one, didnt go over so well….. I would however love this and it came out great here!

  3. says

    All I can say is I'm training my man. ha ha. I'm lucky he's open to trying things. He might not always eat it but he will try!

    Ryan, the browning is the sauce – I am really pleased I was able to get the dark soy. They told me at the market that was would give it a nice brown color! I did crisp the tofu before hand though. :)

  4. says

    I normally would stay away from tofu but after seeing this dish, I'm definitely considering trying it! I love the spices going on here too. I'll keep in mind to remove the seeds to keep the heat down in the dish.

  5. says

    Grumpy, you're a traitor. You were my ace in the hole about not liking tofu! Oh, well, when cooking is as good as this, I can see you swapping sides.

  6. says

    I was reading your About section and it was truly inspirational! I love the idea of using this blog as a way to continue family tradition. I wish my grandparents had written down their recipes as well. This blog definitely has a good vibe :) I love the anecdotes before each recipe and I definitely can't wait to try this. But don't worry I'm not going cut down the spice ๐Ÿ˜›

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