Kung Pao Broccoli and Tofu
Editor's Note: If you've only ever heard of having kung pao with chicken, then you'll want to try this vegan version of the beloved Chinese food dish! This recipe for Kung Pao Broccoli and Tofu is easy to make and includes plenty of dried chiles for some extra heat. Garlic, ginger, and additional ingredients all combine to create a complex flavor profile. You can easily serve this dish on its own for a light dinner, or serve it up as a side dish at your next big family meal. Whether you're a long-time vegan or just want to try something new, you and your family will love this recipe.
The delicately fried tofu pairs well with the broccoli for a generous boost of calcium, protein, and vitamin C. Serve over freshly cooked jasmine or brown rice. For extra heat, add a few shakes of hot red pepper flakes if desired.
Serves4 to 6 servings
Recipe CourseMain Course
Taste and TextureGarlicky, Hot & Spicy, Nutty, Umami
Type of DishVegetable
- Sauce Ingredients
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 6 tablespoons vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon natural sugar
- 2 teaspoons brown rice syrup
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil, optional
- Tofu and Broccoli Ingredients
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- Sea salt
- 14 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, blotted dry, and cut into 1-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for frying
- 5 small hot dried chiles
- ½ cup roasted peanuts, plus more for garnish
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 3 cups small broccoli florets
- 1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
- 2 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, plus more for garnish
For the Sauce: In a small bowl, combine all the cooking sauce ingredients. Mix well and set aside.
For the Tofu and Broccoli: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together cornstarch and a couple of pinches of salt. Dredge the tofu in the cornstarch mixture and transfer to a plate.
Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sprinkled on the surface splatters. Add tofu and fry until golden brown all over, about 8 minutes total. Transfer the tofu to a heatproof plate, sprinkle with salt, and keep warm in the oven.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the chiles and peanuts and stir fry until the chiles begin to char. Do not allow to blacken completely. Remove the chiles and the nuts to a small bowl and set aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and increase the heat to medium high. Add the garlic and ginger and quickly stir once. Then add the broccoli, and stir-fry until tender, but still bright green, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the water chestnuts, scallions, and reserved chiles and peanuts and stir just to combine. Add the reserved cooking sauce and cook, stirring continuously, until heated through and nicely thickened. Transfer to a shallow serving bowl or platter, spoon the reserved tofu on top, and garnish with a sprinkling of chopped scallions and peanuts. Serve hot.
2011 Betsy DiJulio