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Veggin Out

Kung Pao Tofu

We can't believe it's not chicken! No, seriously. We can't! Who knew tofu could be this delicious? If you're a total tofu skeptic like we were, then expect to be converted with this mind-numbingly (thanks to the Sichuan peppercorns and chillies) delicious plant-based take on a Sichuanese classic. 

Serves 3-4|10 mins prep|5 mins cook

Ingredients

Method

450g firm tofu
2 tbs cornflour
1 1/2 tbs rice bran oil or any neutral oil with a high smoke point
50g raw peanuts
5-6 small dried chillies
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
2 spring onions, cut into 1cm batons
3 tbs water or stock
Sauce
1.5 tbs Shaoxing wine, substitute with dried sherry
1 tbs Chinkiang, black vinegar
1 tbs fermented chilli bean paste or chilli oil with solids
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp caster sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp ginger, finely grated
Step 1. Start by mise en plus-ing all of your ingredients.
Step 2. Using your hands, break the firm tofu into irregular bite-sized pieces. Place the tofu into a bowl along with the cornflour and toss until evenly coated. Set aside. 
Step 3. Place all the ingredients for the sauce into a small bowl and mix to combine. Taste and adjust based on your desired level of spiciness. 
Step 4. Heat wok over a medium to high heat. Dry toast the Sichuan peppercorns until fragrant. Transfer the Sichuan peppercorns to a mortar and pestle and grind to a coarse powder. 
Step 5. Coat the wok in rice bran oil. Add the dried chillies and fry for 20-30 seconds or until they become plump, and are slightly blackened. Remove leaving the oil behind. 
Step 6. Add the peanuts and stir-fry for around 30 seconds until golden and nicely caramelised. Remove from the wok, leaving the oil behind. 
Step 7. To the remaining oil in the wok, ​add half the tofu (shaking the excess cornflour off) and stir-fry until golden brown and crispy, remove and drain on paper towel. Repeat with remaining tofu, adding more oil if needed.
Step 8. Add the sauce, chillies, peanuts, Sichuan pepper, and 3 tablespoons of water or stock. Return the tofu to the wok, along with the spring onions tossing to evenly coat. Serve with steamed Jasmine rice and asian greens.  

Notes

- If you are after a saucier stir-fry, you can completely omit the cornflour from the recipe and fry the tofu until a golden caramel. 

- All ingredients used for this dish were sourced from a local supermarket.

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