Recipe - Kung Pao Tofu

From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms
CheesecakeFarms.com



As my New Year’s resolution for 2020, I decided to resolve to do something I would really do for more than just the first week of January.

My idea was to do something each week that would make me Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.
So here is Week 3

All three rolled into one - My Kung Pao Tofu!

Healthy - I enjoyed a veggie packed dinner.
Wealthy - It cost much less than takeout!
Wise - I created a yummy dinner from what I had on hand!


Want the recipe?
Here it is!!


Kung Pao Tofu
This is very free form/stir fry.

Crisping the tofu with a crunchy crust makes it actually quite tasty.  (Does anyone really like tofu?)

Use any veggies you like or, as in my case, happen to have around.

The sauce is a little different from what's typically served in Chinese restaurants.  I like a sauce that's slightly thinner and not too sweet.  Also, I used pineapple juice (instead of the typical chicken broth and vinegar).  But like most recipes, you can tweak this one to your taste adding even a touch of sesame oil and some garlic, if you'd like.

You can use regular flour (or most any flour that you prefer) to coat the tofu but the rice flour makes it the crispiest.  Coconut or peanut oil are the best choices for frying the tofu because they both have high smoke points which means they can get very hot before they start to smoke.  The hotter the oil, the crispier the tofu.

When using coconut oil, chooses either filtered or unfiltered.
Filtered has no coconut taste.
Unfiltered adds a slight coconut taste.

Enjoy!!


Ingredients:
1 container tofu (firm or extra firm)
Rice flour (brown or white) - maybe 1/3 cup
Coconut or peanut oil
Veggies to taste (4 to 6 cups more or less)
Fresh or dried ginger (maybe 1/2 teaspoon or to taste)
Soy sauce (maybe 2 teaspoons or to taste)
Handful of salted peanuts (maybe 1/3 cup or to taste)


Sauce  1 cup pineapple or orange juice
            1 Tablespoon cornstarch  (use 2 Tablespoons if you like a thick sauce)
            Sugar to taste (maybe 3 tablespoons or to taste)
            Hot sauce (optional)

Cooked rice for serving


1. Remove the tofu from the package and rinse.  Do not dry.
Cut tofu into cubes (whatever size you like).
Put into a bowl. Sprinkle with some rice flour (white or brown) - about 1/3 cup or a little more. Gently toss to coat so you don't smush the cubes. Set aside so the flour has time to absorb the liquid. 

2. Put some coconut oil (or peanut oil) into a large frying pan so the cubes will fry nicely (maybe 1/4 inch deep of oil).  Heat to very hot but not smoking. (The oil is ready when a drop of flour sizzles fast in the hot oil.)

3. Carefully add the prepared tofu and let them fry till they are nicely browned and easily release from the bottom of the pan. Don't crowd them in the pan.  Work in batches if you have to.  Turn cubes. Cook second side till brown.  Remove from pan & let drain (I use a cooling rack over a cookie sheet rather than paper towels.)


4.  Make sauce: Stir juice, sugar and cornstarch together.  Heat, stirring, in a small pot till bubbling.  Add additional juice to thin to desired consistence, if desired.  Set aside.

5. Remove extra oil from the pan so you only have a couple of tablespoons.  Add your veggies to taste (I used red, yellow & orange bell peppers plus a sweet onion & a carrot.) Stir fry them till they are the tenderness you like. Add a handful of peanuts, some ginger, and a bit of soy sauce. 

Add the fried tofu and sauce.  Toss everything together.

Serve with rice, if desired. 

Don't like/want tofu?
Sub fish, shrimp, chicken...what ever you like!

Got left over, cooked chicken, fish or shrimp?
That works, too!
No need to dust with flour and cook... just add to the veggies to reheat.







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