Tofu has been on my mind alot lately. It has such a bad rap which is a shame because prepared and cooked right it is SO RIGHT! I go into this in more detail in a previous post so I won’t go banging on about it again BUT do have a peek if you’re new to the ways of the Fu. So.. Salt and Pepper Tofu…
Wait!! Come back!!
Don’t be scared off by a bit of tofu! If you’re new to tofu or just don’t want to go there this recipe here might just change your mind!
The Tofu for Beginners article published last week sparked a little flurry of excitement in the Sweet Vegan Vibes Facebook group. Inspired by a lovely Salt and Pepper Tofu recipe shared by one of the group I decided to give it a go. Do click the link above and come and join us if you’d like to see that one and join in the conversation!
I came across this easy recipe and it looked too good not to try. I do love a simple tofu recipe, simple anything really thats quick, easy, fits in with busy lives but is still nutritious and delicious. This ticks all the boxes! My only slight reservation is the frying part however I think once in a while its good for the soul to let go! That said I will be experimenting to come up with a healthy baked version. Watch this space!
The secret to a good texture, so the tofu feels good in your mouth, is all in the pressing, so don’t leave that part out! Just allow 15-30 mins extra pressing time. If you skip this bit you will end up with slimy tofu and no-one wants that!
Once thats done it couldn’t be easier! Mix up your cornflour (corn starch if you’re in the US) and spices, chop the tofu, toss in the flour and fry it up for a few minutes. Done!
The flavour is delicate (without the optional chilli toppings) BUT the crunch is the real star of the show. Don’t get me wrong the crunch alone isn’t going to work, this is a marriage of flavour and texture and its just sublime! I made accompanying quinoa with citrus & ginger garlic kale but honestly I would have been happy just popping these cubes of happiness in my mouth, I didn’t even need the dipping sauce.
I have tried tofu cooked various ways and found some delicious healthy recipes that don’t involve frying but have to admit the ones that really make me dream of tofu are fried in this way.
If you don’t have the Sichuan peppercorns (also known as Szechuan) to hand and you want to try the tofu without, try mixing ground white pepper and regular or pink salt into your cornflour and fry that, it is also VERY good and you can use regular sweet chilli dipping sauce from the supermarket if you want to zhoosh it up a bit, just make sure its vegan, some will have fish sauce as an ingredient, always check the label.
Finally, make sure you use the right tofu. You want firm. Something like this one. It is always important to use the right type for the recipe. There are different varieties out there and it will make a difference to the end result! Refer to Tofu for Beginners if you want to know more about that.
However you try it, please just try it. Its seriously delicious and when you get the tofu buy an extra pack because I guarantee you will want to make this again the following day. Yes thats me today!
OK Salt and Pepper Tofu! Lets do this!
Salt and Pepper Tofu
Makes a delicious appetizer for 4-6 people served with a dipping sauce or works as a main course serving 2 hungry people.
- 400 grams firm tofu
- 2 tbsp whole Sichuan peppercorns
- 3 tbsp sea salt flakes
- 6 tbsp cornflour
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder optional
- 1/5 teaspoon chilli powder* leave out for nightshade free
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Coriander for garnishing
OPTIONAL DIPPING SAUCE
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp tamari or other gluten free soya sauce
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
- Pinch sugar
Prepare the tofu by pressing using a press or by wrapping in kitchen paper, covering with a board and placing something heavy on top for 15-30 minutes to get as much of the water out as possible. Skip this part at your peril. This is how you get that lovely chewy texture!
Cut the tofu into bite sized cubes.
Place a heavy bottomed frying pan on a low to medium heat and add the whole Sichuan peppercorns. Toast until they are lightly coloured and you can smell them. Place the whole Sichuan peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or small blender and grind to a powder, add the sea salt flakes and grind a little more. The result is Sichuan peppercorn salt. (If you have a thermomix you can roast the peppercorns for 15 minutes on varoma, speed 2 then mill them for 2-3 minutes on speed 10, add the salt and mill a minute more.)
Add the vegetable oil to the heavy bottomed frying pan – just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil on a medium heat.
Place the cornflour on a large flat plate add two teaspoons of the Sichuan peppercorn salt, the ground black pepper and chilli powder (if using) and mix well. Toss the piece of tofu in the cornflour mixture and add to the hot pan. Fry until the tofu is golden and crisp on both sides.
Dry the cooked tofu on kitchen paper to remove the oil and sprinkle with a little more Sichuan peppercorn salt.
Make the dipping sauce by mixing the lime juice, tamari, sugar and sesame oil in a small cup and decant in to a suitable dipping bowl.
Serve the tofu sprinkled with coriander and optional thinly sliced red chilli, with the dipping sauce on the side or just eat it as is. Its delicious and you will be able to pick out the delicate flavours.
You can find the original recipe here.