Tofu changed my life!
Yeah, that's a big statement, but you see, there is a whole Indo-Chinese cuisine back in India that does Chinese food using Paneer (an indian cheese). So until I moved to the US eons ago, I had never had Tofu!
For a vegetarian here in the US, there were limited choices while eating out. Then there is always the
challenge of finding good protein sources for a vegetarian, too. So when I had my first meal with Tofu, I was kinda excited. I ate tofu at restaurants a lot for a long time. P.F Changs became a weekly thing. Then for many months - maybe even years, I stopped eating at chinese places and Tofu sort of fell off my radar.I had moved on to Falafel !
Not that I forgot of Tofu's existence, but I didn't cook it much at home. Then I wondered, why didn't I cook it at home?
One of my absolute favorite dishes at a restaurant was the Kung Pao Tofu. I loved the crunchy peanuts and the fact that heat from red chillies was part of the original dish and I didn't need to douse my meal in hot sauce, like with other food. (Seriously, I don't know why we Indians do that, but we add hot sauce to everything!!!). The only part of this dish I didnt like was the broccoli - I hate broccoli! But I've found that I quite like baby broccoli - and this is only a recent discovery.
This recipe is so easy too, I am kicking myself for not making it more often and sooner than now. Better late than never, I suppose.
- 1 pack Firm Tofu
- 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
- 3-4 Scallions/Green Onions
- 1 inch Ginger - grated
- 2-3 cloves Garlic - minced
- small bunch baby Broccoli
- 1/4 cup Peanuts (if you love peanuts like I do, make this 1/2 a cup)
- 2-3 dry red chillies (optional)
- 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
- 2-3 tbsp Vegetable or Canola Oil
- I like my tofu crisp in my Kung Pao but I don't want to use too much oil, so I crisp up my tofu in a small pan.
- Cut Tofu pieces to small squares and spray a pan with some oil spray or add 1 tbsp of oil to it. Coat the pan in oil, let it get hot and then add Tofu pieces to it.
- Turn up the heat and toss the Tofu around to get the brown color on the outside. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
- Cut the green onions at a bias, reserve the green part of the onion for garnish and use the white for cooking.
- Steam the broccoli in a steamer if you have one. I usually trim the baby broccoli , wash it and place it in a ziploc bag. Add a couple of tbsps of water and microwave for 2 mins (no more than 2 mins). This will steam the baby broccoli and leave a bit of crunch on it.
- Heat a wok (or any large flat bottom pan) on high heat. Add oil and then add peauts.
- In a hot pan, peanuts will brown quickly - so please keep a close watch.
- Add red chillies if using. Break them into half before adding for more heat, or leave whole for a milder flavor.
- Add ginger garlic quickly after, followed by onion and cook , tossing, for 30 seconds.
- Add broccoli, tofu, soy sauce and sriracha in quick succession. Remember this is high heat cooking, so you need to move fast.
- Toss everything around in the soy sauce base for a few mins till the soy sauce boils off.
(Note: Most Kung Pao Tofu recipes call for a soy sauce/cornstarch base, but I don't use cornstarch in my cooking and this still tasted very good. If you prefer a thick consistency of sauce, you can add cornstarch to the soy sauce , before adding the mixture to the pan)
- Add salt and garnish with chopped green onions.
Serve on brown rice and be proud you made a very healthy, protein rich, vegetarian meal today! I sure was.