For those of you who are unaccustomed to eating tofu, I really urge you to give it try. Some people simply right it off as being rather bland tasting, but the fact is tofu has a fabulous melt in the mouth texture and absorbs some of the other flavours that you cook it with. Its a great vegetarian option to meat and is hugely versatile. This is my third recipe using tofu on my blog – the other two, Ma Po Tofu and Soba Noodles with Tofu I incorporate fairly regularly in our diet. This recipe is also heavenly and reminds me in fact of one of my favourite dishes of all time – black peppercorn crab – that I ate in Singapore last year at Red House on Robertson Quay. This recipe is sourced from the Yotam Ottolenghi’s book ‘Plenty,’ which focuses exclusively on vegetarian recipes.
The recipe itself is fairly straight forward, however, as there is a fair amount of chopping, slicing, crushing it does take a little bit of time on the preparation part. The finished dish though is totally worth the effort you put in to the preparation. I have made a number of alterations to the original as I found that when I followed his quantities exactly the pepper was too overpowering and I did not need quite as many chillies or spring onions. So it is a little toned down but see how you get on and if you prefer it with more pepper just add an extra 2 tablespoons to the 3 that I suggest below and throw in a few extra chillies.
Black Pepper Tofu
A Yotam Ottolenghi recipe adapted from his book Plenty (p44-45)
700g firm tofu
cornflour to dust the tofu
10 small shallots, thinly sliced
4 fresh red chillies (fairly mild ones), thinly sliced (seeds removed)
10 garlic cloves, finely grated/chopped
3 tbsp fresh root ginger, finely grated
3 tbsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
3 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp coarsely crushed black peppercorns
5 small and thin spring onions, cut into 3cm segments
1. Carefully remove the tofu from its pack and cut it into large cubes, around 3 x 2cm, being careful not to break it.
2. Sieve a little cornflower over the tofu so that it delicately coats the cubes.
3. Heat a little oil in a deep frying pan and add the tofu in small batches so that the tofu is evenly golden. Place on kitchen roll whilst you prepare the next batch.
4. Clean the pan thoroughly before adding the butter. Once it is melted add the shallots, chillies, garlic and ginger and saute on a low heat for 15 minutes so that the ingredients have softened and darkened slightly. Stir occasionally.
5. Add the soy sauces, sugar and crushed peppercorns and mix into the other ingredients.
6. Place the tofu in the pan and coat in the sauce, being careful not to break up the tofu cubes. After a minute or so add the spring onions and stir into the ingredients.
7. Serve immediately with steamed or boiled rice.
Do you have any wonderful tofu recipes that you would like to share with me? Leave a message below and let me know.