Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Zim Zim and Kung Pao

This will probably the strangest title I will ever give a post. But it makes perfect sense -- I promise. I realized that I have been slacking on posting about trips (which was really supposed to be what half this blog is about), so I decided to do a joint post: trips and chips. Well just one trip, and actually the following recipe doesn't have any chocolate chips -- so I guess it's a trip and non-chip post. Still with me?? <...crickets chirping...>

Let's start with the trip. A few weeks ago I went for a day hike near the coastal range mountains, here in Northern California. The weather was great and sights were beautiful.

Here is a shot of Zim Zim Creek.

Ok, now for the food. I found this great recipe for Kung Pao chicken on Rasa Malaysia, but made a few changes. I used tofu instead of chicken , and made some substitutions for some of the ingredients I didn't have. The recipe calls for peanuts, and I guess this is a staple ingredient of the dish, but guess what? I didn't have any -- so I substituted cashews, and I am so glad I did. I also added some fresh snow peas and zucchini. The end result was really delish and I think the cashews were a nice touch.
Kung Pao(ish) Tofu (adapted from Rasa Malaysia)
  • 1 1/2 lbs of tofu, drained, and cubed (see my tofu draining notes below)
  • 3 tablespoons roasted cashews
  • 8-12 dried red chilies
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 2-3 zucchinis, diced
  • 1 stalk scallion (chopped)
  • 1 recipe marinade (see below)
  • 1 recipe sauce(see below)


  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil


  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  1. Marinate tofu with the marinade for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat up a skillet wok with one tablespoon olive oil and stir-fry the marinated tofu until browned. Dish out and set aside.
  4. Add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until hot.
  5. Add the ginger and garlic slices and quickly stir fry. Add the dried red chilies and stir fry with ginger and garlic for 3 minutes.
  6. Add in the snow peas, and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes until the vegetables are just tender.
  7. Add in the tofu and stir.
  8. Add the roasted cashews and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Add the sauce and stir continuously until all ingredients are coated with the sauce.
  10. Add in the scallions and stir evenly.
*Tofu prep: Since I'm not a fan of mushy tofu, I like to drain as much water out as possible. To do this, I first freeze the tofu for a few hours (or overnight), then thaw it on the day I'm ready to use it. Something about the freezing and defrosting allows the water to drain out more easily. Finally, after it's done thawing, I put it on a plate with a towel over it and set an iron skillet on top. I usually add more weight by placing some large cans on in the skillet. The result is a firmer tofu with a heartier texture. Me likey. Try it!
Also, for all the tofu haters: the bf had the chicken version of this dish and also enjoyed it.


  1. I got double deal such as the yammy food, Kung Pao(ish)Tofu which satisfies the appetite and the beautiful view of Zim Zim which satisfies the mind. Good job.

  2. I wish there was a zim-zim on the east coast! Looks postcard pretty!