The firey amber glow stared back at me as I heard my beloved ally grasp at life. I noted an audible chugging and ticking as it attempted to preheat as commanded. One hundred degrees fahrenheit, it said. For twenty minutes, I waited for that number to rise, perhaps in denial that such a thing could happen. My oven…broken?! It couldn’t be, but it was and is still dead.
It happened about two weeks ago.
Besides reschedule the appliance man three times (long story) and mourn the temporary loss of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, thusly revelling in their aromatic importance…
What is there to do?
That’s right, I said, “Kung Pao!!”.
Well, this recipe is deserving of so many fun exclamatory phrases. I found it through a simple but very lucky google search. I love it. You can make this with chicken or tofu, if you’d like. A phenomenally spicy yet sweet and tangy dish, robust with flavor that’s fast and easy enough for a weeknight dinner in minutes.
Be amazed, as I am.
Kung Pao Tofu and Broccoli
Adapted from Taste of China ~ Kung Pao Tofu
Adapted from Fuchsia Dunlop’s Kung Pao Chicken from Land of Plenty
Serves 2 as a main entree, or 4 as part of a multi-course meal
Note: For a tougher, more meaty texture; Freeze tofu then thaw and drain. Microwave the tofu to evaporate excess water until desired consistency is reached. I use organic Tofu made from non-gmo soybeans such as Nasoya. You may blend the ingredients for the marinade in a blender
- 16 ounces dou gan or extra firm tofu, cubed into bite sized pieces
- 2 to 3 gloves garlic, minced
- 5 slices of ginger
- 5 to 6 scallions, roughly chopped, plus some thinly sliced scallions for optional garnish
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- At least 10 dried red chilis
- 1 tablespoon whole Sichuan peppercorns
- At least one handful of dry roasted peanuts or two tablespoons all natural, homemade or store bought peanut butter (puree), if preferred
- 8 ounces blanched baby broccoli florets
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine or medium dry sherry
1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon dark Soy sauce
1 teaspoon light Soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable stock or water
- Blend or whisk together marinade ingredients. Place prepared tofu and marinade in a ziploc bag and massage to make sure all surfaces of tofu are covered. Let stand while you prepare the other ingredients.
- If you haven’t done so already, mince the garlic and peel and slice the ginger. Roughly chop the white parts of scallions, and thinly slice the green parts for garnish (optional.) Either leave the dried chilis whole, or slice them in half and take out as many seeds as possible (wear gloves!).
- In another bowl, mix together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside. (Note: Different brands of soy sauces vary in terms of saltiness, so taste your sauce. If it’s too salty, add some sugar and water to dilute.)
- Heat a wok with oil over high heat. Before the wok begins to smoke, add the chilis and Sichuan peppercorns.
- Stir-fry briefly until the chilis are slightly blistered and oil is slightly fragrant. Add tofu and broccoli and stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and scallions, and stir-fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Pour in sauce and mix to coat the other ingredients. When the sauce is thickened and shiny, stir in peanuts or peanut butter.
- Garnish with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and additional sliced scallions if desired.