black pepper tofu

April 13, 2013

black pepper tofu

This recipe will give you a serious kick in the pants which is kind of what I need this afternoon after staying up until 2:00 AM with Rebekah and her buddies from camp debating the merits of a local food system with soul at its centre. Long story. All that’s relevant here, really, is that the neurons aren’t firing at full capacity and this black pepper tofu – with its heavy dose of black pepper, hot chile pepper, garlic, and ginger – is kind of what the doctor ordered to give me a little jolt and help me through the day. I used this fabulous smoked tofu from Salt Spring Island that my friend Anne brings each time she comes to visit. But the dish is just as good – it sings just as spicily, gingerly, and zestily – with good old fashioned plain tofu. It’s adapted from the amazing Ottolenghi and is a great dish with rice and veg like steamed broccoli or lightly sautéed baby bok choi on the side.

black pepper tofu

1 lb firm tofu

Vegetable oil for frying

1 tbsp cornstarch or potato starch

1 tbsp flour

6 small shallots, thinly sliced

1 fresh red chile pepper, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tbsps chopped fresh ginger

5 tbsps tamari sauce

2 tbsp sugar

3 tbsps coarsely crushed black peppercorns (use a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder)

8 small and thin green onions, cut into 1 1/4-inch segments

Start with the tofu. Pour enough oil into a large frying pan or wok to come 1/4 inch up the sides and heat. Cut the tofu into large cubes, about 1 x 1 inch. Toss them in the corn (potato) starch and flour and shake off the excess, then add to the hot oil. (You’ll need to fry the tofu pieces in a few batches so they don’t stew in the pan.) Fry, turning them around as you go, until they are golden all over and have a thin crust. As they are cooked, transfer them onto paper towels.

Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan, then add some clean oil to the pan. Add the shallots, chiles, garlic and ginger. Sauté on low to medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients have turned shiny and are totally soft. Next, add the tamari and sugar and stir, then add the crushed black pepper.

Add the tofu to warm it up in the sauce for about a minute. Finally, stir in the green onions. Serve hot, with steamed rice.

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2 Responses to “black pepper tofu”


  1. I finally made this last night and it was fantastic. My new favourite veggie dish. Thanks.


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