I love tofu…. I love tofu scramble in the morning, I love baked barbecue tofu with greens, I love plain tofu dipped in soy sauce and garlic, and I love a nice Asian inspired tofu dish with yummy gravy. I have spent many, many, many, many years trying to find an AMAZING recipe for a Chinese-style tofu dish, but I could never get it right. I mean, I am part Chinese (by way of Taiwan), I should have this… right?… Okay, maybe that’s a ridiculous statement, I was born in Chicago after all. My mom is an excellent cook, but I have never learned how to make an awesome tofu dish from her. Getting a recipe from her is something that I have on my to-do list…. but maybe I don’t have to. I finally stumbled upon a little gem of a recipe that is beautiful and so delicious, and it’s so wonderful that I just had to share it. This recipe is not my own. I found it on Weekly Vegan Menu. I did change it just a little bit, but I’m sure the original is just as tasty.
So, here we go… it’s called, KUNG PAO! Tofu.
Here is the type of tofu that you will want to use. You can use silken tofu, but the consistency will resemble Ma Po Tofu.
|Water packed extra firm tofu|
So, first things first… If you have never drained tofu, make sure to give yourself an hour of inactive preparation time to drain it. You will want to wrap it in a kitchen towel and place something heavy on top.
|One of my favorite cookbooks, Veganomicon, was used for draining my tofu!
After wrapping it for a half-hour and weighing it down, re-wrap it in a new kitchen towel and set your heavy stuff back on top for another half-hour. Total drain time is approximately an hour. You can actually drain the tofu longer. The original recipe suggested draining it for 2 hours, but I don’t think that it’s necessary. You may be surprised by just how much water content is in a brick of tofu after just an hour. Once it’s drained, it will be able to absorb flavor.
Note: If you used silken tofu, DO NOT try to drain it like this!
Place garlic in a heated pan with oil (a wok works nicely for this!). Be careful not to burn the garlic. Put in the rest of the ingredients (peppers, onions, and peanuts). Let them cook for about 5 minutes at medium-high heat. You want them to brown a bit. Do not over cook. Take the stir fry off of the heat. Prepare your agave and vinegar sauce in a small bowl or cup. Mix the sauce well and let it sit.
The original recipe: Kung Pao Tofu