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Kung Pao Veg | 宫保蔬菜丁

Updated: Mar 6, 2022

My eldest daughter requested this version of Kung Pao dish. She became a vegetarian 2 years ago (guess she is following her dad's footsteps) and she always loved my Kung Pao Chicken (even tho it is spicy for her palate). I stumbled upon ChefSteps video on YouTube. It was at that exact lightbulb moment that this dish is born.

I used the ingredients and recipe for this veg version and it failed epically. It is too gooey and lumpy without any flavors, so I tried a different approach discarding the starches. replacing some ingredients and implementing more flavors. I am glad that it works like a charm!

I also decided to serve this on some fried Vietnamese rice paper. I am certain that once you tried frying the rice paper, you will never look at it the same way again. It is perhaps the crispiest food that you will ever eat. Give this veg version a try and you will be amazed.



Inspired by ChefSteps

(Serve 4)

  • Veg:

  • Shiitake Mushrooms Coarsely Sliced, 400g

  • Cauliflower Coarsely Sliced, 800g

  • Pecans / Walnuts, 200g

  • Marinade:

  • Sesame Oil Oil, 1/2 TBSP

  • Soy Sauce, 1 TBSP

  • ShaoXing / Hua Tiao / Sherry Wine, 1 TBSP

  • Liquid Smoke Preferably Stubb's, 2 TBSP

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • Black Pepper, Pinch

  • Mushroom Powder, Pinch

  • Sauce:

  • Maple Syrup Preferably Grade A, 2 TBSP

  • ShaoXing / Hua Tiao / Sherry Wine, 1 TBSP

  • Soy Sauce, 1.5 TBSP

  • Chili Oil, 1 TBSP Adjust To Preference

  • Vegetable Stock, 60ml

  • Smoked Paprika, 1 TSP

  • Cayenne, Pinch

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • Kung Pao Veg:

  • Canola / Peanut / Vegetable Oil, 2 TBSP + More For Frying

  • Sichuan Peppercorns, 1/3 TSP

  • Dried Chilies Coarsely Sliced, 6 Adjust To Preference

  • Garlic Finely Minced, 3 Cloves

  • Ginger Finely Minced, 1"

  • Scallions Finely Sliced, 3 Stems + More For Garnishing

  • Cashew Nuts Roasted, 50g

  • Black Vinegar, 2 TBSP

  • Vietnamese Rice Paper, 4 (Optional)

  • Fresh Coriander Coarsely Chopped, For Garnishing



  • Cast Iron Skillet / Pan

  • Oven

  • Food Processor



  1. Please visit my "How To Make Chili Oil" page for the recipe.

  2. Prepare the veg.

  3. Preheat oven to 70 degree celsius or 160 fahrenheit.

  4. Transfer the mushrooms and cauliflower onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, spreading out evenly.

  5. Wack into the oven and bake for 2.5 hrs.

  6. Transfer into a food processor and blitz until coarsely ground.

  7. *Do not take it too far as it will become a paste.*

  8. Transfer onto a large mixing bowl.

  9. Blitz the pecans in the food processor. Pulse it a few times for coarse ground.

  10. Transfer the pecans into the bowl as well.

  11. Mix everything together until well combined.

  12. The ratio is 1 part nuts, 2 parts mushrooms and 4 parts cauliflower. This is a fantastic plant-based substitute for ground meat as inspired by ChefSteps.

  13. Prepare the marinade.

  14. I will be only using 200g of the veg mix.

  15. Transfer the veg mix and the rest of the marinade ingredients into a large bowl.

  16. Mix until well combined.

  17. Cover with cling film and set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

  18. Prepare the sauce.

  19. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients together until fully mixed.

  20. Set aside.

  21. Cooking the kung bao veg.

  22. In a skillet over medium heat, add oil.

  23. Once the heat is slightly heated up, add pepper corns and dried chilies.

  24. Saute until aromatic and the chilies are toasted.

  25. Drain the oil and discard the peppercorns and chilies.

  26. Return the oil into the skillet.

  27. Add in garlic and ginger. Saute until aromatic.

  28. Follow by the scallions. Saute for 30 secs.

  29. Add in the marinaded veg and saute for about 30 secs.

  30. Turn the heat up to medium.

  31. Add in the sauce and saute to combine well.

  32. Cook until the liquid has evaporated.

  33. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

  34. Remove from heat.

  35. Immediately add in the roasted cashew nuts and black vinegar

  36. Fold to combine well. Set aside.

  37. In another skillet over medium-high heat, add about 1" of oil.

  38. *To check the temperature of the oil, insert a wooden chopstick, if bubbles start to form around the chopstick, the oil is ready.*

  39. Carefully drop the Vietnamese Rice Paper into the oil.

  40. It will crisp up instantly. Remove from oil and drain on a wire cooling rack or on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

  41. Repeat the process for the remaining rice paper.

  42. Transfer the fried paper onto serving plates.

  43. Spoon the Kung Pao Veg over the fried paper.

  44. Garnish with some coriander.

  45. Serve immediately.

1 part pecan, 2 parts mushrooms and 4 parts cauliflower. Fantastic plant-based alternative.

A flavor bomb!


Recipe Video:

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