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Real-Deal Kung Pao Tofu (宫爆豆腐) - The real-deal recipe that helps you create better-than-takeout kung pao tofu in your own kitchen. {vegetarian}

Real-Deal Kung Pao Tofu (宫爆豆腐)

4.86 from 7 votes
The real-deal recipe that will help you create better-than-takeout kung pao tofu in your own kitchen.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Servings: 2 to 3 servings
Author: Maggie Zhu



  • 1 block (16 oz / 450 g) House Foods extra firm tofu (or medium firm tofu)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or agave nectar)
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons cornstarch


Stir fry

  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 teaspoons whole Sichuan peppercorns (Optional)
  • 4 to 5 dried chili peppers
  • 1 tablespoon garlic , minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger , minced
  • 2 teaspoons doubanjiang (spicy fermented bean paste) (Footnote 1) (Optional)
  • 4 green onions , roughly chopped
  • 1 bell pepper , chopped
  • 1/3 cup fried peanuts


  • Cut tofu into 1-inch pieces and transfer to a large ziploc bag. Add soy sauce and maple syrup. Gently flip the bag a few times to coat tofu with the liquid. Marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Mix all the sauce ingredients with 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl.
  • When tofu is marinated, open the bag just a little bit without letting the tofu fall out. Drain the liquid and discard it. Add cornstarch, a tablespoon at a time, and gently toss the bag to coat the tofu. It is OK if the tofu isn’t coated evenly.
  • Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat until hot. Add the tofu with your hand (or a pair of tongs), shaking off any extra cornstarch. Let cook without moving for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the bottom turns golden. Flip to brown the other side. If the pan gets too hot, turn to medium or medium low heat. Transfer cooked tofu to a plate. Set aside.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the Sichuan peppercorns. Cook and stir until the peppercorns turn dark (but not black). Remove the Sichuan peppercorns and discard them.
  • Add the chili pepper, garlic, ginger, and doubanjiang. Stir for 20 to 30 seconds to release the fragrance.
  • Add the bell pepper and green onion. Stir for 20 seconds.
  • Stir the sauce again to dissolve the cornstarch completely. Pour into the pan. Stir a few times until the sauce thickens.
  • Add back the cooked tofu. Gently toss to coat with sauce. Add the peanuts and give it a quick stir. Immediately transfer everything to a big plate.
  • Serve hot as main with steamed rice.


  1. If you do not use doubanjiang, taste the tofu at the end and add a pinch of salt, if needed.


Serving: 3g, Calories: 369kcal, Carbohydrates: 30.9g, Protein: 14.9g, Fat: 21.6g, Saturated Fat: 3.8g, Sodium: 652mg, Potassium: 433mg, Fiber: 3.2g, Sugar: 11.8g, Calcium: 260mg, Iron: 3.6mg