Kung Pao Tofu
I tend to get fixated on a meal and want it all the time. When I was in my early 20's it was Kung Pao Chicken. I would order it with extra cashew nuts from a takeaway at least once a week. I have great memory's of finishing my Thai Boxing class in the evening and picking up a Kung Pao Chicken on the way home as a treat. When I was In China I had it for lunch every day as each restaurants interpretation would be a little different. I never get board of the sticky sweet and sour classic, however as with many people now I'm older I notice that I'm much more sensitive to what I eat. By my mid thirties I cleaned my diet up simply because that's what my body was asking me to do. Today If I was to eat a take away I'd feel so groggy and bloated that I tend to avoid it. This Kung Pao Tofu recipe Is my attempt at recreating my old takeaway favourite while keeping me feeling full of beans.
The ingredients listed below should make 4 small portions but I have to admit me and my wife will usually polish the lot off! If you want to keep it vegan friendly swap the honey for maple syrup or a teaspoon of palm sugar.
300g Basmati rice, soaked before
2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
250g tofu, drained and diced
2 tablespoons of flour
large sprinkle of chili flakes
2 pinches of salt
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 red chillies, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, diced
2 handfuls of Mushrooms, chopped
1 tin / 140g of water chestnuts
2 large handfuls of cashew nuts
Spring onions, cut julienne
4 teaspoons of cornflour
4 teaspoons light soy sauce
4 teaspoons of Hoisin dipping sauce
4 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
4 teaspoons of rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons of honey (maple syrup if vegan)
1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
If you can plan in advance I would recommend soaking the rice in the morning if cooking in the evening. bear in mind that after soaking the rice will cook much faster.
When you put the rice on to soak drain and chop the tofu too and leave out on the side to dry a little.
When your ready to cook dust the tofu with the flour and a sprinkle of salt in a bowl. Then add some chilli flakes.
Heat a pan with the toasted sesame oil. When hot add the flour dusted tofu and fry until lightly browned and beginning to crisp.
While the tofu is frying add all of the sauce ingredients to a small bowl or cup and mix together so it's ready to go.
Add the onion to the tofu and fry for another 5 minutes. If the rice was soaking now's a good time to wash it off and put it on the heat to boil.
Once the onion has been frying for around 5 minutes add the garlic, pepper, mushrooms and water chestnuts and fry for another 5 minutes.
Now pour the sauce into the pan and stir in with the cashew nuts.
While the Kung Pao is sizzling away drain the rice.
Serve the Kung Pao with with the rice and a garnish of spring onions on top.