Earl's Kung Pao (Protein of Your Choice)

Total Time
Prep 20 mins
Cook 20 mins

Earl's Restaurant in Canada makes the most amazing Kung Pao - it's on their menu as chicken, but I had it made vegetarian, and wow, is it fantastic! Make it however you like... at Earl's, you order by the number of peppers... 1 for mild, 6 for scorching... I like 6! *Note* The peppers are not eaten, they're cooked in the sauce, and then removed. Passed along to my by a friend who I ate there with... she mentions that if you cannot find the peppers, you can sub them with 2 tsp chili paste and 1 1/2 tsp chili flakes (to taste.)

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 8 ounces tofu or 8 ounces chicken breasts, cubed into 1-inch cubes
  • Marinade

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar or 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 12 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Other

  • 4 cups vegetables, chopped (broccoli, snow peas, carrots, peppers, etc)
  • 375 g pasta (whole wheat or white) or 375 g noodles (dry)
  • 2 -8 small dried red chili peppers
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon szechuan peppercorn (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons oil, for stir frying
  • 12 cup salted peanuts or 12 cup cashews
  • 3 drops sesame oil


  1. Mix together the marinade, adding the cornstarch last, and whisking well until there are no lumps.
  2. Cut the tofu or chicken into 1-inch cubes. Combine with the marinade ingredients. Marinate ½ - 1 hour.
  3. While the tofu or chicken is marinating, prepare the sauce and vegetables. Set aside.
  4. Heat wok over medium-high to high heat. Add 2 tbsp oil. When oil is hot, add tofu or chicken and marinade. Stir-fry until chicken is cooked or tofu is browned. Remove from the wok and set aside. Stir fry vegetables until tender crisp, and set aside.
  5. Cook whole wheat pasta until al dente. Drain.
  6. Add 2 tbsp oil to wok. When hot, add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until aromatic (about 30 seconds). Add the sauce, chili paste and hot pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Add cooked tofu or chicken, vegetables, green onions and nuts. Stir until hot. Remove from heat and add few drops of sesame oil.
  7. Add sauce, vegetables, and chicken to pasta and toss. Garnish with extra nuts.
  8. Enjoy!
Most Helpful

This type of dish is among my favourite things to eat. There are a few steps, but they're all easy. I used some brown rice spaghetti and a mix of cabbage and carrots for veg. I've never put cornstarch in a tofu marinade before, good idea. The tofu was really tasty and just a little crispy on the outside.

magpie diner January 06, 2012

This was excellent. For my veggies, I used broccoli, carrots, peppers, mushrooms and onions. Thanks for the recipe

Cilantro in Canada September 30, 2011

I chose to make this for my daughter and niece, using tofu instead of meat, but surprisingly it was my non-vegetarian niece who most enjoyed the dish, and who asked to take home the leftovers...go figure. I think that this is food that highlights the layered flavours, rather than the protein. I pressed the firm silken tofu first to squeeze out water, and then marinated it for longer than an hour, after which time the tofu had absorbed all the marinade. The cubes browned beautifully, with a crisp thin crust and soft interior. I used fewer chiles, not being sure of the heat tolerance of my guests, and only about half the cooked noodles (I just added them to the sauce until it looked like the right proportion to me). This is definitely a dinner that will be made often.

Sweet Baboo May 23, 2010