Tofu and lots of fresh vegetables are stir-fried in just a bit of oil in this traditional Chinese dish. In the Sichuan province of China where this dish originates, the tofu wouldn't be deep-fried like it is so often in America. Similarly, in our version of this takeout favorite we stir-fry the ingredients in only a little bit of oil. Source: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2008

EatingWell Test Kitchen
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Pat tofu dry and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Combine with 1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder in a medium bowl.

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  • 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.

  • Meanwhile, whisk water, oyster sauce, cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder in a small bowl.

  • 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).

Tips

Shopping tips: 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.

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.

Ingredient note: Most supermarkets sell broccoli crowns, which are the tops of the bunches, with the stalks cut off. Although crowns are more expensive than entire bunches, they are convenient and there is considerably less waste.

Nutrition Facts

200 calories; 10.8 g total fat; 1.5 g saturated fat; 622 mg sodium. 527 mg potassium; 16.3 g carbohydrates; 4.6 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 11.6 g protein; 2100 IU vitamin a iu; 148 mg vitamin c; 123 mcg folate; 240 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 68 mg magnesium;

Reviews (26)

Read More Reviews
26 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 2
  • 4 star values: 22
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
02/05/2017
Fantastic!! Considering it is a healthier alternative to the full fat version of Kung Pao I have made this 9 times with no adjustments. This is a staple in my home weekly. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
05/07/2014
Pretty good It was pretty tasty and easy to make plus my kids ate it:) If you're looking for traditional Kung Pao though this is not it. It was not spicy enough or probably oily enough. But I wanted a healthy tasty meal and that's exactly what I got! Pros: Easy quick tasty Cons: Not spicy Read More
Rating: 2 stars
06/02/2012
Peanuts soft The peanuts did not come out like a traditional Chinese dish. Maybe they need to be quickly fried first? Not sure but mine were soft and the texture not good. Additionally you can't fry tofu properly according to this recipe. Have tried a million times and it comes out a soggy mess stuck to the bottom. You have to really fry it in oil at med-high heat - needs to be enough oil for the tofu to float! Then you'll get your nice golden tofu with white insides. If you follow this recipe it will all stick to your pan or be soggy and break into pieces. I've been reading the recipes and comments on this site and people want to make a good recipe out of what's given not invent their own stuff to add on the fly. I'm tired of not knowing what to make picking a recipe that seems good only to find out my family hates it because it's just not good. It kills the adventurous cooking spirit. Pros: Nice combo of items Cons: Peanuts soft Bland as it. Not authentic I think Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
03/14/2012
Wonderful and healthy! I really liked the simplicity of this recipe. I was originally worried that without adding some type of brown sugar or sweetener like many other stir fry sauces call for that it would be too salty or lack dimension. The five spice powder and the cinnamon in it actually added a hint of sweet flavor to the dish. I made this for my mother who had never tried tofu and she absolutely loved it. I served it over whole wheat udon noodles and added some snow peas to the vegetable mix. Pros: Easy no added sugar or sweeteners Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
Particularly dull! There are certainly better ways to jazz this up. The sauce has no depth and the dish is very light on garlic and ginger. It needs some Sichuan peppercorns to give it some punch. shen Berkeley CA Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
Based on the other comments (thanks everyone) we added crushed red pepper flakes along with the ginger and garlic to give it that punch we expect with Kung Pao. It did the trick. Jordan Long Beach CA Read More
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Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
It was good. Make sure and marinade the tofu in the sauce and then make another batch of sauce to add to veggies. Also Spice oil should not be optional! Vivienne Dexter MO Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
I make Asian dishes often and loved this as did my Chinese friend although I made several changes based on what I had available so the result was not an authentic Kung Pao but it turned out wonderfully not bland at all! As one cook suggested I marinated the drained and diced tofu with the 5-spice and a splash a soy sauce ahead of time. I increased the ginger and garlic by about half. I added some thin sliced celery to the vege selection. I substituted about 2 tsp. of black bean paste (Asian markets have it a staple) for the oyster sauce with about a 1/2 tsp. of toasted dark sesame oil and a pinch of sugar in the cornstarch mix. I did not have hot chili oil either but sprinkled in cayenne for the "hot" to taste. Essential was adding 4 finely chopped spring onions (scallions) with the peanuts at the end and then garnishing with minced Chinese parsley (cilantro) delicious served over basmati rice. I know not the same recipe as presented but totally inspired from it and a keeper. red Eugene OR Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
I thought this was delicious. For those who thought it was bland you obviously didn't add the hot sesame oil. Also try adding more veggies anything you want. Mushrooms would go great with it. You aren't restricted to what the recipe lists. Be creative. That said I followed the recipe and everyone in the family - even those not crazy about tofu - really liked it. Helen San Fran CA Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
Sorry but I just tried making this dish and it needed more oil. To fry something for 7-9 minutes tofu and then the peppers and broccoli after that for another 4 minutes with a total of 1 tlbs of oil is a disaster. I may try again but this time with a little more oil. Mark C Buffalo NY Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
Terrific dish--we've made this several times and always enjoy it. The hot sesame oil is a must. This is a fast and healthful recipe. Susan OH Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
We rarely eat out so don't know what kung pao is supposed to taste like but we found this dish colorful and satisfying. My husband usually eats broccoli only because it's healthful he doesn't approve of cooked tofu and he hates garlic. Yet he was disappointed that I hadn't made enough Kung Pao Tofu for second helpings. Anonymous Bellingham WA Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
I think the reason everyone's saying the recipe is bland is because it doesn't ask you to marinate the tofu. I chopped it into cubes and marinated it in soy sauce; pineapple and orange juice; mirin; some of the 5-spice powder; and salt for about 5 hours. I also used the sesame oil in the end. It turned out great! I definitely want to make this again! Ali Auburn AL Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
MmmmMmmm Good! My new favorite recipe and I will make it over and over again! Just adjust your spice level to your own desire and never go out to eat again! Cathie LA CA Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
Wow made this and loved it. I don't know what everyone else who reviewed this did. I did add Mongolian Fire Oil as I could not find spicy seasame oil. And I doubled the amount and it was nice and spicy. I am going to try it again and add pepers to it as well. Eric Ducat Los Angeles CA Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
We didn't even spice it up and really loved it! I have to say that we do not normally eat Kung Pao anything at Chinese restaurants so were not comparing it to anything. I am rating this dish on its own merits. I am planning to try it spicy in the future. Susan Dallas TX Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
But to make it very good... we doubled the sauce recipe and served it over rice noodles. And the chile oil is not optional that stuff really adds a bang. Jessie Madison WI Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
Horrid. Kung pao should be nuclear hot so a real misnomer the photo looks nice though. Blander than eating wallboard if I ever had to eat that when I was starving. I even put 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes in it to spice it up since we only had plain sesame oil and it was still bland: a real loser skip it or add like a TBSP of red pepper flakes or some sechuan peppercorns. Captyar Bethesda MD Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
As the two star rating denotes this dish was just okay. Edible certainly but nothing that knocked anyone's socks off. Judith La Crescenta CA Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
Made this tonight. We thought it was satisfying but also rather bland. Wouldn't compare to restaurant Kung Pao not nearly spicy enough. Sandy Seattle WA Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
Hmm... I'm not sure where the Kung Pao comes from because it tastes nothing like the Kung Pao sauce you get at a Chinese restaurant. Usually Eating Well gets it right but I would say a big pass on this one if you are planning on making it. It's pretty boring. Julie Burlington VT Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
We got to the asian market weekly and had all the ingredients in our pantry this was really awful no heat at all blandsville. Wouldn't' recommend it it needs major rework with like 5 dried chiles or add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes and I don't have the patience to tinker with it there are way better tofu recipes on this site and kungpao recipes out there on the web. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
REALLY REALLY GREAT - THE SMALL AMOUNT OF OIL WORKS GREAT WHEN YOU USE A WOK TO DO THE COOKING. MAYBE IT'S NOT "AUTHENTIC" KUNG PAO BUT IT HAS FANTASTIC FLAVOR AND SOOOOO HEALTHY AND FILLING. GREAT ADDITION: SRIRACHA SAUCE! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
OYSTER sauce is not a vegetarian ingredient in any way shape or form. Promoting this dish as vegetarian is grossly misleading and an affront to those following a vegetarian diet. 'Without overt meat ingredients' does not qualify a recipe as vegetarian. Please investigate recipes more thoroughly before indicating their suitability for any particular dietary plan. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2011
It says oyster "flavored" sauce to make it vegetarian...in the tips and notes section... Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/29/2011
Really good We skipped the "oyster flavored sauce" and used soy sauce instead. Overall it was quite good and I would definitely make it again. Read More