Darn, it’s a hot day. Not warm but terribly, offensively hot. We’ve entered the dry season here in the tropics and, at noon, the temperature goes up to around 36C with a RealFeel of 39C. In our house, that means it’s the season for fast and easy-to-cook dishes with ingredients that aren’t hard to digest.
This meatless dish fits the bill perfectly. Tofu requires very little preparation. It also takes a short time to cook.
But… just ten minutes to cook? Yes. Plus an additional five minutes to prep.
Place a cake of firm tofu on a plate lined with paper towels. Cover with more paper towels and weight down with a plate. This removes excess water from the tofu.
While the tofu is expelling water, cut up your vegetables and mix the ingredients for the sauce. If you want the sauce to be on the thick side, disperse cornstarch in a little water so you can thicken it before the tofu and vegetables are tossed in.
Heat oil in a pan, cut the tofu into cubes, drop into the hot oil and fry until golden and crisp. Scoop out and set aside.
In a clean pan, stir fry diced bell pepper, scallions and peanuts in a little sesame seed oil. Scoop out and move to a plate.
Into the same pan, pour the sauce and allow to boil. Drizzle in your starch solution (I know that it’s called slurry in America but I’m not in America and I detest the term “slurry” which isn’t really a word), stir and continue cooking the sauce until thickened and no longer cloudy.
When the sauce is ready, dump in the fried tofu cubes, toss thoroughly to coat each piece generously with sauce then stir in the stir fried vegetables and peanuts. And that’s it. Your Kung Pao tofu is done.
10-minute Kung Pao tofu
- 1 300-gram cake firm tofu
- cooking oil - for deep frying
- 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons Shao Xing rice wine
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon grated garlic
- ½ teaspoon sesame seed oil
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon chili paste
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
- 1 bell pepper - deseeded and diced
- ¼ cup sliced scallions - plus more to garnish
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts
- Line a plate with paper towels, place the tofu on top, cover with more paper towels and weight down with another plate.
- Start heating the cooking oil in a wok or fryer.
- Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce minus the cornstarch.
- Disperse the cornstarch in two tablespoons of water.
- Cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes and deep fry until a golden crust has formed on the surface. Scoop out and set aside.
- In a clean frying pan or wok, heat the sesame seed oil and stir fry the bell pepper, scallions and peanuts for a minute. Scoop out and set aside.
- Pour the sauce into the pan and allow to boil.
- Whisk the cornstach solution and pour into the sauce. Cook, stirring, until thick and no longer cloudy in appearance.
- Dump in the tofu and toss to coat each piece with sauce.
- Add the bell pepper, scallions and peanuts, and toss.
- Tip the contents of the pan into a serving bowl, sprinkle in more sliced scallions, and serve your Kung Pao tofu.