Stir-fried vegetables are tossed in flavourful savoury yet sweet sauce then served over rice in this quick and easy meatless dinner. A vegetarian take on the classic takeout dish Kung Pao chicken, these kung pao vegetables just minutes to prepare and are perfect for meatless nights!
If you are a fan of the flavours of Kung pao chicken you are going to love these Kung Pao vegetables!
The sauce is the most perfect blend of savoury with a touch of sweetness and a blast of umami. There is a list of ingredients to grab if you want to true authentic flavour, but they are all fairly easy to find if you have an Asian grocery store nearby. It's worth the trip, I promise!
This dish is great if you're craving some Kung Pao flavour but with a healthy dose of vegetables. The whole thing comes together in about 20 minutes and it's perfect for meatless nights.
You're going to love this!
- Quick and Easy - this dish may have a few ingredients, but only a couple of quick steps. You can have dinner on the table in just about 20 minutes!
- Versatile - This dish is easily adaptable to use whatever veggies you have hanging around.
- Authentic flavor - This recipe uses authentic ingredients for the best flavour possible. I've noted substitutions, but for the best flavor try it with the ingredients as written - you won't regret it!
- Vegetables - I used a mix of eggplant, broccoli, onion, red pepper, and snow peas, but you can use any of your favourite veggies.
- Szechuan peppercorns - these have a distinct citrusy/spicy flavour and there isn't much of a substitute. You should be able to find them at your local Asian grocer, but you can omit if you can't find them or aren't fond of them.
- Peanuts and green onion - flavourful garnishes for the top of the dish.
- Dried red chili - Also available at your Asian grocer. If you can find them, you can substitute with a bit of any chili paste you have on hand. Use less though as the dried kind as less spicy.
- Dark soy sauce - This has a richer, deeper flavour than regular soy sauce and brings a nice dark colour to the sauce.
- Soy Sauce - regular soy sauce or tamari will do here.
- Shaoxing wine - this is a Chinese cooking wine. If you can't find it, cooking sherry or any dry sherry will substitute just fine.
- Black vinegar - this is a Chinese vinegar with a malty umani flavour. If you can't find it, malt vinegar would be a decent substitute.
- Sugar - to add a touch of sweetness to balance the dish. As written in this recipe, this is a subtle flavour. If you prefer the sauce a bit sweeter, add more sugar.
- Cornstarch - to thicken the sauce.
How to make it
Make the sauce. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, black vinegar, Shaoxing wine, sugar, cornstarch and water to make the sauce. Set the bowl aside for later.
Toast the Szechuan peppercorns. Heat a wok to high heat then add the peppercorn. Stir them often as they toast for a minute or two, remove them and grind them with a pestle and mortar then add them to the sauce.
Stirfry the veggies. Place the wok back on the burner and add a splash of cooking oil. Add the broccoli, onion and eggplant and stir fry them for 2-3 minutes before adding the remainder of the veggies and stir-frying just until they have brightened and heated through.
Add the sauce. Add the sauce to the wok and toss the veggies in it until the sauce has thickened.
Serve. Serve over rice or noodles and garnish with peanuts and green onion.
Tips for the best Kung Pao Vegetables
- Use the authentic ingredients. The flavour in this sauce that comes from using authentic ingredients is worth a trip to your local Asian grocer. I promise this sauce will rival your favourite takeout dish.
- Don't overcook your stir-fry. The vegetables should be crisp and not floppy. Cook the veggies on high just until they are fork tender and don't cook them in the sauce for too long. If you swap vegetables be sure to stirfry the harder longer cooking vegetables first before adding the softer and faster cooking vegetables so that the dish cooks evenly.
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Kung Pao Vegetables
- 1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns
- 1⁄2 red pepper - sliced
- 1 head broccoli - cut into florets
- 1⁄2 onion - sliced
- 1⁄2 eggplant - diced
- 12 baby corn
- 4 oz snow peas - ends trimmed
- 2 Tablespoons chopped dried red chilis - use more or less of this depending on how spicy you like it
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts
- Whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside for later.
- Lightly toast the szechuan peppercorns in a hot wok then grind with a pestle and mortar and add into the sauce.
- Add a splash of cooking oil to a wok and heat over high heat. Add the broccoli, onion and eggplant and stir fry for a couple of minutes first before adding the remainder of the veggies and cooking until they are bright and heated through but still crisp.
- Add the sauce to the wok and toss and stir until it thickens.
- Serve over rice or noodles with chopped green onion and peanuts.
* nutritional information is calculated by online tools and may not be 100% accurate.