Black pepper tofu with steamed rice.
Whether or not you eat tofu on the regular, this iconic recipe by @ottolenghi (Plenty pg 44) is so ridiculously tasty that you will want it on rotation in your house. This dish is super quick and straightforward to make, and the flavours are just as bold, fiery and vibrant as any top Chinese restaurant.
I adapted the original slightly to reduce the black pepper, sugar and butter (it was quite indulgent 😜), and I found this struck the perfect balance. Give this one a go and thank me later peeps! 😉
– 800g firm tofu, cut into large cubes (approx 3x2cm)
– Vegetable oil, for frying
– Cornflour to dust the tofu
– 50g butter
– 4 large banana shallots (350g)
– 4 fresh red chillies (mild-mod, depending on your preference)
– 12 garlic cloves
– 3 tbsp fresh ginger (15g)
– 3 tbsp sweet soy sauce (recap manis)
– 2 tbsp light soy sauce
– 4 tsp dark soy sauce
– 1 tbsp caster sugar
– 2½ tbsp coarsely crushed black peppercorns (use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder)
– 8 spring onions, cut into 3 cm segments
1. Start with the tofu. Pour enough oil into a large frying pan or wok to come 5mm up the sides and heat. Toss the tofu cubes in some cornflour and shake off the excess, then add to the hot oil. Fry, turning them around as you go, until they are golden all over and have a thin crust (approx. 6 minutes). Cook them in 2-3 batches so they don’t stew in the pan. When they are done, transfer them onto kitchen paper.
2. Meanwhile, add the shallots, chilli, garlic and ginger to a food processor and blitz for a few seconds till finely chopped. Alternatively you can finely chop everything by hand.
3. Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan, then put the butter inside and melt it. Add the shallots, chillies, garlic and ginger. Sauté on low to medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally till softened. Next, add the soy sauces and sugar and stir, then add the crushed black pepper.
4. Add the tofu to warm it up in the sauce for about a minute. Finally, stir in the spring onions. Serve hot, with steamed rice. Enjoy! 😋