Kung Pao Tofu

This recipe is from the Eating Well magazine. I actually bought fresh tofu which is now the only kind I will ever buy from now on. It was much firmer than any other I have had and I like it that way! This recipe turned our pretty spicy, but was REALLY REALLY good. All except the rice noodles that I served it with, which were a little, and by a little I mean very, firm… so firm that Isaac didn’t eat them. That’s saying something because he’ll eat anything. Guess I should have let them soak longer.. I was way too hungry to wait, but i did regret not waiting when each bite of noddles tasted like I was chewing on a rubber band. 


Makes 4 servings, about 1 cup each

ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes


1 14-ounce package extra-firm water-packed tofu, rinsed 
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder, divided (see Shopping Tip)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons oyster-flavored or oyster sauce (see Shopping Tip)
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
12 ounces broccoli crowns, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces (4 cups)
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons unsalted roasted peanuts
2 teaspoons hot sesame oil (optional)

1. Pat tofu dry and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Combine with 1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder in a medium bowl. 
2. Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu and cook, stirring every 1 to 2 minutes, until golden brown, 7 to 9 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
3. Meanwhile, whisk water, oyster sauce, cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder in a small bowl.
4. Add broccoli, yellow and red bell pepper to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low, add the oyster sauce mixture and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 30 seconds. Return the tofu to the pan along with peanuts and stir to coat with sauce; stir in hot sesame oil (if using).

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 197 calories; 11 g fat (2 g sat, 4 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrate; 12 g protein; 5 g fiber; 622 mg sodium; 517 mg potassium. 
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (230% daily value), Vitamin A (40% dv), Calcium & Folate (25% dv).
1 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 1 plant-based protein, 2 fat

TIP: Shopping tips: Be sure to use “oyster-flavored” sauce (it’s oyster-free) to make this vegetarian; both it and oyster sauce are found in the Asian-food section or at Asian markets. Five-spice powder is a blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns. Look for it in the spice section or with other Asian ingredients.

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  1. So, maybe I’m just slow, but what’s the difference between fresh tofu and regular? What’s the kind in the refrigerated section, in the little white package with water? Is that not fresh?

    Sorry. I’m confused!

  2. Arielle:

    The fresh tofu I bought was at a local health food store that purchases the tofu from a local community that makes their own tofu. They have plain or herb flavored. I just got plain. It’s in large water bins at the store and you fish out a square of it and put it in a bag yourself. The main reason I like it so much because it’s extra firm doesn’t soak up much of the water. This is the only store I have ever seen it sold this way.

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