Aug 10, 2010

kung pao tofu

Asian Night

Kung Pao Tofu was Mikel's favorite dish from Whole Foods when we veganized. At about $10 a container it was something we had to make at home.

Whole Foods did this really neat thing - they put the ingredients on the label. All I had to do was figure out the how much and how to cook it. Easy enough since Kung Pao Tofu is tofu with a sauce and peanuts.

They used brown rice syrup for the sweetener and brown rice vinegar for the acid. Please note that this is an Americanized version of Kung Pao, which originally is not so very sweet; there is a hint of sweetness but it is the vinegar that is the accented flavor in the sauce.

I wrapped my tofu to extract the water and make it absorb the homemade teriyaki sauce as well as hold together when I saute it on my enameled griddle. I love this griddle because tofu does not stick to it - like a nonstick, but safer.

This meal is a great rendition of Kung Pao, even if it is the American version.

Cost Breakdown:

tofu: $4
rice syrup: $1.50
vinegar, tamari, spices: $2
peppers, garlic, scallions: $3
rice: $1
peanuts: $1
Total to feed a family of 5:


  1. Wow this looks amazing I have been searching for an awesome Kung Pao Tofu recipe... And I am oh so curious about your "enamel griddle" what brand do you have? I am really interested in cooking with less oil but don't know quite how to do it without everything burning or sticking (even in non stick pans) will the enamel griddle prevent the sticking with minimal oil?

  2. looks delicious! and i love tofu too... thanks for sharing :)

  3. I worked at Whole Foods for two years and quickly got sick of the kung pao because I ate it so much. I love the look of yours much better than the one they did. I loved that about whole foods (putting the ingredients on the label) because it did allow me to mimic a lot of the recipes. Of course if I couldn't, I just watched them make it in the kitchen.

  4. Sounds like a great recipe! Never tried to make it at home, but just may now.

  5. Love how tasty it looks and the cost breakdown. Just went to a vegan cooking class and I was impressed. I never thought you could eat so well on a plant based diet.

  6. Amy...I am not a fan of Emeril, but this is the only enameled cast-iron griddle I could find and since it is from All-Clad the product is very good. This is what I have and use. You can just spray oil on it and tofu does not stick:

    Don't forget the 20% off coupon.

    If you get the griddle do not forget how important a stiff stainless steel turner is. Without it, my tofu flipping would be mediocre at best. The great thing about the griddle is that you can use steel utensils on them:

    Thank you, Lena!

    That's neat, Tender Branson! I imagine working at WF would get you in on a few secrets I could only glean from the labels :)

    Belinda, you should try it! Just remember to wrap your tofu first (in a non-linty kitchen towel) so it can hold together, be more firm and absorb the marinade.

    Thanks, Evan and Runners Fuel!!

    May Ling Wu, take a look around this site and see how well a plant-based diet can be. In fact, I think a vegan diet is even better because it is not stuck in the "beef, chicken, fish or pork" merry-go-around. Thanks for visiting and let me know if you have any questions! I'd be happy to help.

  7. Yummy! I would make this just for me and not share it!

  8. It looks amazing. I love the sauce sticking to the tofu. It makes it so lickable. :)

  9. This looks fantastic! Do you know what would be a good substitute for the brown rice syrup if I can't find that?

  10. Try replacing the 1/2c rice syrup with 2 T maple syrup + a 1/4c water. Taste for sweetness and add more maple syrup if it isn't sweet enough.

    Replacing all of the brown rice syrup with maple would be way too sweet because the rice syrup is much less sweet than maple.

  11. This turned out to be a fantastic meal! Thanks for sharing it, and all the other yummy recipes.

  12. I like the idea of this with maple syrup instead of brown rice syrup which is not something I have in my cupboard. Your picture makes this dish look some absolutely delicious I am going to have to try it ASAP.


Thanks for your comment! I'll check if it's spam and post if it is not. I appreciate your time and effort for commenting! ~ Zsu