Salty, sweet and deliciously spicy kung pao tofu. This easy, high-protein meal is ready in 40 minutes and perfect for weeknight dinners.
Kung pao tofu is something that I have eaten at restaurants a lot, but until now I had never made it at home.
I don’t know what I was waiting for because restaurant worthy kung pao tofu is so easy to make at home.
It looks really impressive but it’s super simple and ready in around 40 minutes, so it’s perfect for a weeknight dinner.
Kung pao tofu is the vegan version of kung pao chicken. It’s made with dried red chilies, but don’t be scared off even if you’re not a fan of hot food, you can totally make it mild too.
How to make kung pao tofu
You start off by pressing the tofu. A tofu press is a great thing to have especially if you’re a fan of tofu recipes in general!
But if you don’t have a tofu press, you can press the tofu by placing it onto a plate, with another plate on top of it and then place something heavy on top of that, like a heavy pot.
Let it press for 20 minutes and while it’s pressing you get all your other ingredients ready.
Once the tofu is pressed, cut it into cubes and then fry it in some sesame oil, turning over the squares carefully so they don’t break up, until the tofu is nicely browned. Then you take the tofu out of the pan and set aside, so you can fry up some dried red chilies in that pan!
How spicy do you want it?
Kung pao tofu is a dish that can be super spicy or just mildly spicy. What you do is fry up some dried red chilies in sesame oil for two minutes. The chilies will release some nice spiciness into the oil and then you add in some crushed garlic and ginger, red peppers, spring onions and peanuts and stir fry it all together.
Then you add the tofu back in, pour over some kung pao sauce and stir fry everything until the sauce has thickened.
Now, you can either remove the chilies, they have done their part and added in some lovely flavor and spiciness, or if you’re totes crazy you can leave them in for some super hot chili surprises!
The other option would be to slice the chilies open before frying, this would result in a really, really spicy dish, so we didn’t go with that option. We fried them up whole and then removed the whole chilies from the dish before eating it, and it was still deliciously spicy, but not overpoweringly so.
We love the spicy food, but we definitely lean towards the mild side!
You will love this delicious spicy kung pao tofu! It is:
- Salty and sweet
- Deliciously spicy
- High in protein
- Perfect for dinner!
It serves 2 for a very satisfying main course. Leftovers keep very well in the fridge and can be reheated the next day.
More delicious tofu recipes!
- Our marinated tofu recipe is also a super quick and easy meal that is perfect for weeknight dinners as is our General Tso’s tofu and our vegan tofu stir fry is packed with veggies and totally delish.
- Our tofu satay is served with a divine peanut dipping sauce and makes a wonderful appetizer and our tofu burger is topped with a to-die-for mushroom sauce. Our vegan buddha bowl has crispy tofu as a main ingredient and our tofu and eggplant bowls are crazy good too!
- Our vegan taco meat is made with tofu and walnuts and is the best thing to put in your vegan tacos or on your vegan nachos and our vegan bolognese sauce has tofu as a main ingredient!
- If you’re up for a delicious tofu scramble in the morning then our ‘super eggy’ vegan tofu scramble comes pretty damn close to mimicking scrambled eggs, with delicious tofu as the main ingredient.
So what do you think of this kung pao tofu? Let us know in the comments and please do rate the recipe as well. Thanks so much!
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Kung Pao Tofu
For the Tofu:
- 16 ounces Extra Firm Tofu (450g)
- 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
For the Kung Pao Sauce:
- 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
- 1 tsp Cornstarch
For the Veggies:
- 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
- 5 Dried Red Chilies
- 1 tsp Crushed Garlic
- 1 tsp Minced Ginger
- 1 Red Pepper
- ⅓ cup Spring Onions Chopped
- ¼ cup Roasted Salted Peanuts (37g)
- Press the tofu for 20 minutes. Either use a tofu press or place the tofu on a plate, with another plate on top of it and then place something heavy on top, like a heavy pot.
- While the tofu is pressing, chop up the red pepper and spring onions and mix up the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
- When the tofu is pressed, slice it into cubes and then add to a frying pan with the sesame oil and fry, gently turning over the tofu until it's nicely browned. Remove from the pan.
- To the pan add sesame oil and dried chilies and fry for 2 minutes. Then add the crushed garlic, ginger, bell pepper, spring onions and peanuts. Stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Add in the tofu and pour over the sauce and stir fry until the sauce has thickened.
- Serve over basmati rice topped with a sprinkle of spring onions.
- Use gluten-free soy sauce or switch for tamari and use a gluten free hoisin sauce if you'd like this meal to be gluten-free.
- You can remove the whole chilies before serving if you want to avoid a very spicy surprise while eating this meal. If you like eating whole spicy chilies then leave them in.
- Spring onions are also called green onions, salad onions or scallions.
- Nutritional information is for 1 serve of 4 without rice.