Kung Pao chicken is a famous dish that most likely originated in the Sichuan province of China. Its history is rather fuzzy but most people agree that it was named after a governer, general or other official from the late nineteenth century. Whatever its true origin, this dish has been popular for decades in Chinese restaurants everywhere and is practically synonymous with takeout. In this vegetarian version, tofu and assorted vegetables replace the chicken. The tofu and vegetables are all chopped into bite-sized pieces, in keeping with tradition, and are cooked in a light sweet & sour sauce with just enough crushed red pepper to make your mouth tingle. Roasted peanuts, added at the end of cooking, provide the perfect crunch and richness. Serve with lots of steamed white rice.
Egg Rolls
Kung Pao Tofu
Steamed White Rice
Sichuan-Style Marinated Cucumbers


12 ounces firm tofu, drained and patted dry
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 cup halved sugar snap peas
1 cup diced zucchini
1/2 cup quartered water chestnuts
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 scallions, white and light green parts only, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup roasted peanuts

Cooking Instructions

Cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes. Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat and add the tofu. Fry the tofu, turning every couple of minutes, until golden on all sides. Drain on paper towels.

In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sherry, sesame oil, sugar, crushed red pepper and cornstarch.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the snap peas, zucchini, water chestnuts, garlic and scallions and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the fried tofu, roasted peanuts and sauce and cook for another minute or until sauce is thickened. Serve with steamed white rice.

Makes 4 servings



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When making stir-fries, always be sure to have your ingredients chopped, mixed, and ready to go before you start cooking. Stir-fries cook so fast and usually require frequent stirring so, once the vegetables go in the pan, you will be left with little time for other tasks.

There are several types of tofu available ranging from firm to soft, Chinese-style to silken (or Japanese-style.) Extra-firm tofu is the best option for marinating and cutting into cubes for a stir-fry. Softer varieties are better for using in tofu-based spreads and dressings.

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