Ever since I saw the Black Pepper Tofu in Ottolenghi’s Plenty, I have wanted to make it. It has all of the SE Asian flavours that make great food, plus the tofu is deep fried, what is not to like?
Black Pepper Tofu | Ottolenghi
Source: Ottolenghi’s Plenty
Prep Time: 40 mins to prep and deepfry the tofu plus 15 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Serves: approx 6 – 8 depending how you use it
800g firm tofu
vegetable oil for frying
cornflour to dust the tofu
12 small shallots (350g in total), thinly sliced
8 fresh red chillies (fairly mild ones), thinly sliced
12 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp chopped fresh root ginger
3 tbsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
3 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp caster sugar
5 tbsp coarsely crushed black peppercorns (use a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder)
16 small and thin spring onions, cut into 3cm segments
Cut the tofu into 3cm x 2cm blocks and toss them in cornflour, shaking off the excess. Pour in enough oil to come 0.5cm up the sides of a large frying pan, and bring up to frying heat. Fry the tofu in batches in the oil, turning the pieces as you go. Once they are golden all around, and have a thin crust, transfer to a paper towel.
Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan and throw in the butter. Once it has melted, add the shallots, chillies, garlic and ginger, and sauté for about 15 minutes on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the contents of the pan are shiny and totally soft. While you wait, crush the peppercorns, using a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder. They should be quite coarse.
When the shallots and chillies are soft, add the soy sauces and the sugar, stir, then stir in the crushed pepper. Warm the tofu in the sauce for about a minute, then add the spring onion and stir through. Serve hot with steamed rice.