Why am I calling this, almost Kung Pao Tofu, well it is kind of missing the main ingredient.   Kung Pao is a classic dish from the Szechuan province and one of the main ingredients is Szechuan peppercorns.  I don’t actually use them.  When I first found a recipe for this dish, which I have since changed to my liking, I just left them out as I didn’t have them in the house.  What I ended up with was so good I didn’t really see the point in trying to find the last ingredient, so never did.  I have had this dish from Chinese restaurants and don’t feel my version is lacking in any real way so have decided to just leave it as it is.


The other difference is I have changed peanuts for cashews.  I don’t know about you, but where I live getting plain peanuts for cooking is not an easy task, whereas cashews are available in all the healthy aisles.  Personally I don’t see this as a big issue, it tastes just as good with cashews.


kung pao tofu


This is a recipe I have been tweaking for years and I am really pleased with this final version.  The portion below will serve 4 normal people, or two greedy guts like me and my husband!



  • 1 x block tofu
  • 2 x tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 x inch fresh ginger (thinly chopped)
  • 2 x cloves garlic (thinly chopped)
  • 1-2 x teaspoons chilli flakes (depending on how spice you want it!)
  • 2 x tablespoons cashews
  • 1 x green pepper
  • 1 x red pepper
  • 1 x handful mushrooms
  • 1 x nest noodles per person
  • Gorundnut oil for frying


  • 2 x tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 x tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (or as I am out at the moment, I substitute Mirin)


  • 2 x tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 x tablespoon agave nectar
  • 2 x tablespoons water
  • 1 x teaspoon toasted sesame oil

kung pao tofu



When making tofu, preparation is key.  Often people can’t stand the consistency and that is down to poor preparation.  First, cut the tofu into slices, then put these under a couple of clean tea towels and pile all the heaviest things in the kitchen on top (for me a wooden chopping board with my huge pestle and mortar on top).  I leave this for around 30 minutes to soak up all the excess liquid.  This is the process I complete before making anything with tofu.


  • To make both the Marinade and Sauce just mix together the ingredients as above.
  • Once the tofu is prepped mix it in to the marinade and leave for up to one hour.  Then remove, coat it in cornflour, shake off any excess and fry it for a couple of minutes in a little groundnut oil.  This ensures the tofu has a nice crisp crust which is how I like it.
  • Once the tofu is cooked remove it from the pan
  • Add the garlic and ginger to the pan.  Leave them to fry on a medium heat for a couple of minutes before adding the chilli flakes and cashew nuts.  Fry until the nuts are just starting to turn golden brown and then set them all aside.
  • Next fry the peppers and mushrooms for 5 minutes.  Once they are starting to get tender add the sauce.
  • Cook the noodles as per the instructions on the pack
  • The final stage is to add all the ingredients back together, so add back in the tofu and the chilli, ginger, garlic, cashews and noodles.
  • Leave it all to cook together for another 3-5minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and serve.


If the recipe is not quite to your liking add some extra soy sauce, toasted sesame oil or crushed chillis.  Sometimes I add a little bit of all three!!


Let me know if you try making it, I would love to hear what you think!