Black Pepper Tofu

I love tofu because it can take on so many personalities.  Here it becomes comfort food.  Delicious spicy, deep flavors to soothe the soul.  Tofu to please a vegetarian or a carnivore.  I have served it to so many guests, it is dressed to impress. This gem of a recipe is adapted from an incredible cookbook I was gifted as a wedding present. Seriously Yotam Ottolenghi is a genius!  I can’t enough of Plenty.  The flavors developed in every recipe are out of this world! There are some difficult to find ingredients – mainly different kinds of soy sauce.  It does make a difference, who knew? I didn’t until this recipe.  Since then I have come to appreciate the unique tastes and use them all frequently. If you are lucky enough to have an asian market or specialty store nearby you are good to go – when I am down in Phoenix I make sure I stop by Lee Lee’s and stock up on a variety of pantry staples.  I hope you are able to find the ingredients to make this treat! I serve with steamed rice and stir-fried bok choy with sesame ( gotta add a little green to the plate right?)

  • 2 blocks extra firm tofu, drained patted dry and cut into cubes
  • Vegetable oil and cornstarch for frying
  • 11 tbs butter
  • 8 shallots sliced thin
  • 6-8 red chilis sliced thin, don’t bother to seed  (whatever you can find, I use red jalapeno)
  • 12 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 3 tbs sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
  • 3 tbs light soy saucephoto 2
  • 4 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 3-4 tbs black peppercorns coarsely ground ( I use a coffee grinder)
  • 1 bunch green onions white and light green parts sliced
  1. Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large fry pan
  2. Toss tofu cubes in a bowl of cornstarch to coat
  3. Add cubes to the hot oil, fry until golden on all sides  (I have to do 2-3 batches with the size of my pan)
  4. Drain tofu on a paper towel lined plate
  5. Pour off oil and wipe out sediment, return pan to the heat
  6. Melt butter and add shallots, chilis, garlic & ginger
  7. Saute gently for 15-20 minutes until very limp and soft
  8. Add the sugar and soy sauces & stir to combine
  9. Add black pepper & stir to combine
  10. Add the tofu and stir to coat with sauce, allow tofu to heat through
  11. Add sliced green onions and serve

photo 5


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