Black pepper tofu

We rarely eat vegan, and when we do it’s often accidental. This is one such example.

I stumbled upon it when we were attempting a Monday-Friday flexitarian diet last spring, and it’s gone into regular rotation in our kitchen. The sauce would work perfectly well with stir-fried chicken instead of tofu, if you’re morally objected to veganism.

Marc is such a fan that he made it for 60 people at a function late last year. I reckon he’s now better at making it than me, and he made the one in these pictures.

I’ve learned through bitter experience not to use silken tofu (it’s too soft), and always get the fresh stuff from the fridges instead; it’s a much better way of getting it crisp.

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It’s better if you press it to remove water – place the whole block on a plate with plenty of kitchen towel top and bottom, then weigh down with a heavy object (hardback books, a casserole dish, Paula Deen’s liver, etc.).

Serves: 2-3

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 400g tofu, cubed (Cauldron, £1.50 in the refrigerators at ASDA)
  • 5tbsp light soy sauce
  • 5tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2tbsp muscovado/dark brown sugar, dissolved in 6tbsp water
  • 2tsp cornflour, muddled with 2tbsp water to create a slurry, plus more to dust the tofu
  • 1tbsp ginger paste
  • 1tbsp garlic paste
  • 1tsp chilli flakes
  • 4 spring onions, very finely sliced
  • 3tsp cracked black pepper
  • Vegetable oil

Method:

  1. In a bowl, coat the tofu with cornflour and shake off any excess.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat some oil and fry the tofu, stirring regularly to prevent sticking while getting a little colour. Once cooked through, remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar and sugar.
  4. Clean your pan, and put back on the heat. Add another splash of oil, then the ginger, garlic, spring onions and chilli flakes, stirring constantly to avoid burning.
  5. After a couple of minutes, add the soy sauce mix and cornflour slurry to the pan, Combine well with the softened ginger, garlic and so on, then add the black pepper.
  6. The sauce should thicken within about 30 seconds, so add the tofu quickly to coat it in sauce and bring back to temperature. Serve immediately with boiled white rice.

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