Most of the Chinese meals that I make at home consist of pairing pan-fried tofu with veggies and soy sauce. They’re definitely not what I’d call adventurous. But I decided to go out on a limb last night by making one of the many sauces I’m fond of eating in Chinese restaurants: kung pao.
Kung pao is a soy- and sesame-based sauce that is thickened with cornstarch. The sauce is made sweet with a touch of brown sugar and spicy with a hint of chili paste and is delicious served over perfect tofu. You can add any combination of veggies that you’d like to the mix, but I decided to keep it simple with just red bell pepper that was only slightly sautéed.
Kung Pao Tofu
2 Tbsp. white wine
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. cornstarch, dissolved in 2 Tbsp. water
1 oz. hot chili paste
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
4 Tbsp. peanuts
16 oz. perfect tofu (already cooked)
- In a small bowl, combine the wine, soy cause, sesame oil, cornstarch, chili paste, vinegar, and sugar and stir until well combined. Set aside.
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, then sauté the bell pepper and garlic until the pepper just begins to soften, about 3 minutes.
- Add the sauce and heat until the mixture begins to thicken.
- Add the tofu and continue to cook until all pieces are well coated with a thick sauce.
- Serve with rice or noodles and top with peanuts.
Makes 4 servings