Black Pepper Tofu

This intensely flavorful dish tastes like it came straight out of the kitchen of an authentic Asian restaurant. It’s really that tasty. I started with a basic recipe from the cookbook Plenty, but then made some changes to ease up on the spiciness factor (my kids are experimental when it comes to food but serving them things that are too spicy won’t help to instill their trust in me when I say, ‘Just try one little bite. Really, you’ll like it.'” ; )

I served this with jasmine rice and we each ate a good deal of it in order to temper the robust black pepper flavor. We also drank a ton of water. So hey, it’s a great dish for encouraging hydration!

But you will absolutely love it and your guests (or spouse or kids) will think you ordered in.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cartons firm or extra-firm tofu
  • canola oil for frying
  • cornstarch to dust the tofu
  • 8 tbsp Earth Balance
  • 12 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 red chiles (fairly mild ones), thinly sliced
  • 12 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce mixed with 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp coarsely crushed black peppercorns (I used a mortar and pestle)
  • 10 green onions, sliced about 2-inches long

Sliced shallots and chiles

Black peppercorns ready to be crushed!

Cut the blocks of tofu into cubes, about 1 x 1 inch. Pat them dry, then toss them into a large mixing bowl with some cornstarch until they’re lightly and evenly dusted. Pour enough oil into a wok or frying pan to partly submerge the cubes of tofu. You may need to fry them in batches. Turn them as they fry, until they’re golden all over and have a thin crispy crust. As they finish cooking, transfer them onto a platter lined with a paper towel to drain.

Remove the oil and any particles from the wok and then place the butter inside to melt. Add the shallots, chiles, garlic and ginger and saute on medium heat until tender and shiny. Add the soy sauce/water mixture and sugar and mix well. Then add the crushed black pepper.

Place the tofu into the sauce mixture and allow it to warm in the sauce for a couple minutes. Finally, stir in the green onions. Serve hot with rice.


Happy eating!