Kung Pao or Kung Po or Gong Bao is a spicy, stir-fried Chinese dish made with cubes of chicken, peanuts, vegetables, and chili peppers. The classic dish in Sichuan cuisine originated in the Sichuan Province of south-western China and includes Sichuan peppercorns. It is highly addictive with its perfect blend of sweet, salty, crunchy and slightly numbing taste. I have managed to create a vegan version and the family has certified that the vegan version lives up to its reputation.
450g firm tofu
200g mushrooms, cut into cubes
5 spring onions, white portion only, cut into 2 centimetre pieces
300g celery sticks, peeled and finely diced
3-4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
3 centimetres piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
Handful of peanuts, roasted with skin on
5-6 hot dried red chillies, seeds removed
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppers
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon potato starch
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar
1 tablespoon water
In a small bowl or measuring jug, mix all ingredients for sauce and keep ready.
Prepare tofu by pressing down under a heavy weight for 20 -30 minutes. Wipe dry and cut into even 1 centimetre cubes.
Heat oil in a large wok, Fry the Sichuan peppers and dried chillies taking care not to burn. Toss the mushrooms in and continue frying for a few minutes.
Stir in the tofu to ensure the tofu is heated through. You should see slight caramelization on the edges.
Stir in the garlic, ginger and spring onion whites. When you can smell the fragrance, add the celery and heat through.
Give the sauce a stir before pouring into the hot wok. Let the sauce bubble away for minute and toss the peanuts.
Garnish with spring onion greens and serve hot with steamed sushi or Jasmine rice. Serves 4 -6