QZ qz thoughts
a blog from Eli the Bearded

Black pepper tofu, after Ottolenghi

I find the peppery sauce in this addictive. It's simplified (a bit) and moderated from the original in Ottolenghi's book Plenty. His recipes are good, but complicated.

tofu prepared, next to cookbook photo
  • 1 1/2 lb firm tofu
  • cornstarch to coat tofu
  • enough vegetable oil to fry the tofu

Cube drained extra firm tofu, roll in corn starch. Then fry in shallow oil in batches, turning frequently, until golden on all sides. Drain on paper towel.

  • 1/4 lb butter
  • 12 small shallots (figure an ounce each), peeled and thinly sliced
  • some chilli peppers, thinly sliced, quantity and strength to taste, I suggest two jalapeños
  • 1/2 head of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 inches of ginger root chopped

With tofu aside, reuse same pan to cook shallots, chillies, garlic, and ginger at low heat in the butter. Stir occasionally and when soft, 10 to 15 minutes, add

  • 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
  • 4 tablespoons regular soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Stir those in then add

  • 3 tablespoons black peppercorns freshly coarse ground

Ottolenghi calls for more soy sauce and pepper. I like his pepper quantity but it is too much for my wife. Stir again and add that tofu put aside earlier. Stir to coat on all sides as long as needed to warm the tofu back up. Finally garnish with

  • handful small, thin spring onions, cut into short matchsticks