Kung Pao Tofu (Paneer) & Burnt Garlic Mushrooms – A Home Made Chinese Takeout

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I picked up my little one from school and her first question was “Mom, what’s for dinner tonight? I don’t want to eat Indian today.” She is just like me, a big time foodie and thrives on the “thoughts of the food” :))). I told her that even I want a change and we both yelled together, “How about some Chinese?” We looked at each other and laughed out loud. She is not even 5 yet but sure knows her preferences right.


{Kung Pao Tofu/Paneer}

My family loves Kung Pao Chicken from the take out and I had been meaning to try the vegetarian version since a long time. Kung Pao is a much loved American Chinese take out dish.

New recipes need some mental notes and readings. I was putting that away. Finally, went through a lot of recipe reading online. Almost all of the recipes had a long list of ingredients and many of the ingredients are special buys. I always have soy sauce, distilled vinegar and chili sauce at hand. This recipe is yet another quick, out of the kitchen closet ingredients, easy to please recipe. Only warning is that it is super spicy and bursting with heat. Peanuts add a nice crunch to the dish.  This was meant for me and my husband only.


{Burnt Garlic Mushrooms}

Burnt Garlic Mushrooms and Vegetable Stir Fry were devoured by the girls.

Amit’s Compliment – Best Chinese ever that you have cooked!

See this is what I mean, a happy and tummy full family. Won’t talk more today since I have 2 recipes to give out. Let us get started!

Kung Pao Tofu / Paneer

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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IMG_3341 Kitchen Equipments Required Chopping board, knife, a non stick pan with stirring spoon, a bowl to make sauce, a fork, an extra, bowl, a plate. Ingredients Marinade Tofu / Paneer - 200 gms, cut into small cubes Soy sauce - 1 tsp Chili sauce - 1/2 tsp Distilled white Vinegar - 1/2 tsp Cornstarch - 1/2 tbsp Sauce Corn starch - 1 tbsp Soy sauce - 1/2 tbsp Vinegar, distilled - 1 tsp Hot Chili Sauce - 1/2 tsp Sugar - 1 tbsp. I used Jaggery. You may use honey or brown sugar Water - 1 tbsp Stir fry Oil - 1/2 tbsp + 1/2 tbsp. You may use sesame oil. Scallions / Green Onions - 6, sliced thin Ginger - 1 tsp Garlic - 1 tsp Bell peppers / Capsicums - 1/2 cup, chopped the size of paneer. Red Dry Chilies, whole - 6 to 7. I used 4 big and cut them into smaller pieces. You may use Chinese dry chillies or a mix of Indian Hot red chilies and Kashmiri red chilies to balance the heat. Peanuts - 1/2 cup, dry roasted Salt - to taste Method Marinading the Tofu or Paneer - Take a bowl and add all the ingredients mentioned under marinade to the bowl. Toss well gently. Set aside to marinade for 10 minutes. Making Sauce - Take a bowl and all the ingredients mentioned under the sauce. Whisk well with a fork. Set aside. Stir Frying and Putting the Dish together 1. Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in the non stick pan. Add dry red chilies and toss them till they become slightly dark ans smokey. Now add the ginger and garlic and cook for 5 seconds on lower flame. Add chopped green onions and bell peppers. Stir fry them on high flame for 2 minutes. Keep them crisp. Transfer the Stir fry to the plate. 2. In the same pan, heat 1/2 tbsp of oil and lower the flame. Add the marinade ingredients to the pan. Lower the flame. Toss and cook the marinated Tofu or Paneer pieces in the pan on medium flame for 3 to 4 minutes. They will be cooked well in their marinade. 3. In the pan with cooked protein, add your cooked stir fry and toss and turn on high heat for added 1 minute. 4. Now pour the prepared sauce and Dry roasted peanuts. Again cook on medium flame, while tossing and scraping the bottom of the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. The dish will come together in no time. Serving Suggestions - Serve as a side to noodes or steamed white rice or stir fried rice. An excellent tongue tantalizing experience.

The next recipe to complete the Home-made Chinese Takeout is Burnt Garlic Mushrooms. A 5-minute recipe, put together in no time and delicious as it could be. 

Burnt Garlic Mushrooms

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
IMG_3343 Kitchen Equipments Required colander to wash the mushrooms, chopping board, knife, paper towel, a non stick pan and stirring spoon Ingredients Mushrooms - 2&1/2 Cups, cleaned and quartered. I used baby portobella, but you may use white buttons or shitake Garlic - 3 big cloves, sliced fine Green Onion - 1 chopped thin Oil - 1 tsp Soy sauce - 1 tsp Salt and Black pepper to taste Method 1. Heat the oil in the pan. Add the thinly sliced garlic to the pan. Reduce the heat and cook the garlic till it turns brown and crisp, for about 1 minute. 2. Add the chopped green onions and quartered mushrooms along with soy sauce and salt - pepper. 3. Toss and cook for 2 minutes. That's it! It will leave some water but that serves as a sauce. It is a delicious side to rice or noodles.

Cook this elaborate yet super easy and delicious meal for your family and friends this weekend and share some good laughter and smiles! Life is already complicated, our recipes need not to be :).

Taking it to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted by Julie and Liz !


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  1. It sounds absolutely delicous! And easy to make as well. I love paneer cheese and I will try this next time. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. I love that you were able to make this from ingredients in your pantry, bet it would be equally delicious with cubed chicken (I cannot get my menfolks to eat tofu although I love it).

    Lovely that you and your 5 year old daughter think alike. She is already a gourmet. Thanks for bringing this to FF.

    1. I am so glad that you liked it Liz. I adapted the recipe from the ones using chicken so yes chicken can be used 🙂

  3. I love that you and your daughter shared the same thoughts! My daughter and I have had this in common our whole lives, and the connection has always kept us close. This dish looks so good. I love the idea of the burnt mushrooms! I have pretty much quit going out for Chinese because of all of the way you feel when you’ve eaten it.

    1. I agree Julie. I love my Chinese food but take out makes me feel so horrible later on that it annoys me and bothers me, slurrping on the grease.
      Cooking at home, can keep the grease in check.

  4. Love how you put that together for your daughter, I’m sure she was well pleased. Love anything burnt myself, and I was eyeing those baby corn, my girls loved those in stir fries when they lived at home. A good healthy and nutritious meal as always. Hey Sonal, I have a question to ask. I’ve made your mushroom (hmmmm I’m forgetting the name now), curry a few times. It calls for cashews for the creamy part of the dish (instead of cream or coconut milk). I’m taking a few of my Indian vegetarian recipes with me when I visit my Mum and family in England next week. I know Mum would love that, but I know she doesn’t have the equipment to grind the cashews, do you think I could grind it here and take it that way across the pond? Mum lives in a home, and I’m planning to cook for her for 2 weeks, she does love vegetarian and fish, but also eats chicken.

    1. Thank you Loretta.
      It was Mushroom Makhani.
      I would suggest that you can grind the cashews and take them in air tight container. Another good option can be to take cashew butter from the market and use that. May be give it a try at home first and see the results??

      1. Yes, that’s the one. I saw cashew paste/butter mentioned elsewhere? I’ve yet to see it though, can that be purchased in an Indian store? Thanks.

        1. I think it is easily available in wholesome and organic stores like whole foods, even out revisit store Kroger keeps it.
          I bet acme and trader his in that area would have it. It is normally kept near almond butter and peanut butter.

  5. Gorgeous Sonal. I like how your daughter thinks! At 5 years old she already has her priorities straight. 🙂 I have a bunch of cremini mushrooms and green onions in the fridge and I’m headed to the kitchen to try my hand at Burnt Garlic Mushrooms. It’ll be a great side dish this evening. Thank you for your never-ending inspiration Sonal. I always love your posts!

  6. Superb post.. Two in one .. I am drooling .. Look at those mushrooms ; I want them right now.. And Kung pao Tofu .. Gonna try soon ! Loved the new format of your post !!

  7. Much better than Chinese take out, love this. I am a Kung Pao fan and love your vegetarian version of the chicken dish. The mushrooms also sound delicious. So many times take out is just ok, too much oil my biggest complaint I think. Great recipes.

    1. My complain as well Suzanne. I jog on the chinese take out and then end up with bad stomach and guilt!
      Thank you so much! ☺️