Kung Pao Tofu

Kung Pao Tofu

25 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine March/April 2008

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.

Ingredients 4 servings

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Original recipe yields 4 servings
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  • 1 14-ounce package extra-firm water-packed tofu, rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder, (see Shopping Tip), divided
  • 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, (see Ingredient Note), 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)


  • Active

  • Ready In

  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).
  • 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 information

  • Serving size: about 1 cup
  • Per serving: 200 calories; 11 g fat(2 g sat); 5 g fiber; 16 g carbohydrates; 12 g protein; 123 mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 6 g sugars; 2100 IU vitamin A; 148 mg vitamin C; 240 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 622 mg sodium; 527 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 1
  • Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 1 plant-based protein, 2 fat

Reviews 25

May 07, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
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
June 02, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
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
March 14, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
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
February 01, 2011
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By: raheli4
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.
September 07, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
It says oyster "flavored" sauce to make it vegetarian...in the tips and notes section...
August 19, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
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.
February 18, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
November 14, 2009
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By: EatingWell User
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.
September 23, 2009
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By: EatingWell User
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