Only Kung Pao Tofu Recipe You'll Need...

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    This is one of my favorite weeknight meals to make, especially as a student on a low budget. Kung pao tofu is essentially the same as kung pao chicken but for this recipe, I’ve obviously subbed out the chicken for tofu AND added in an ingredient for the additional Chinese medicinal benefits to help lower my fiery qi. If you can, you should definitely try Chinese celery!

    What’s the Difference Between Chinese Celery and Regular Celery?

    Chinese celery has much thinner stalks than American celery. Chinese celery stalks are also hollow and extremely crunchy, with a stronger celery flavor. In other culture’s dishes, it can be used as an herb too to add flavor in soups and braised dishes. From a traditional Chinese medicinal perspective, celery aids in “cooling” the body and treating high blood pressure. From a foodie’s perspective, adding in this celery adds a delightful and fresh crunch, in contrast to the strong and bold soy flavors of the sauce. Here’s how to make it.

    Serves 4


    • 1.5 blocks of firm tofu, dried and pressed to squeeze out the water

    • 4 tbsps cornstarch to coat tofu

    • 1 tsp ginger, diced

    • 1 tbsp garlic, diced

    • 3-5 dried chili pepper with seeds removed

    • 1/4 cup cashews

    • 1 red bell pepper, cut into triangular bite sized pieces

    • 1 green spicy chili pepper, cut the same way as the bell pepper

    • 8-10 stalks of Chinese celery, cut into 1 inch sections

    • For the sauce:

      • 2 tbsps soy sauce

      • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce

      • 2 tbsp rice vinegar

      • 1 tsp sugar or honey

      • 1 tsp salt

      • 1 tbsp cornstarch

      • 1/4 cup water


    • Start by cutting the tofu into little bite sized pieces, by slicing the tofu block in half horizontally, then slicing down vertically into blocks. I get about 8 blocks out of a single block of tofu.

    • In a shallow dish, roll the firm tofu blocks in the cornstarch so that the surface is lightly coated. Feel free to use more cornstarch as needed.

    • Once the tofu is done, shallow frying the tofu until all sides are golden brown. Remove and let drain on some paper towels.

    • After the tofu is done, fry up the ginger, garlic, and dried chili pepper in 2 tbsps of oil until lightly golden

    • Add in the red bell pepper, green chili, celery on very high heat so that the veggies cook, without getting too mushy

    • Once you start seeing some browning on the red bell pepper, add in the cashews, tofu, and gently toss

    • For the sauce, mix together all the ingredients, making sure the cornstarch is well combined, then add into the wok with all the ingredients

    • Once the sauce gets thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (should take about 3-5 mins if the wok is on medium high heat), the dish is ready to serve!

    • Enjoy with lots of rice to sop up the delicious sauce