I keep talking about trying out tofu recipes and I suppose it might not be a huge surprise that my husband isn’t super excited about it when I bring it up. What guy gets excited about tofu? I’ve been plotting the perfect tofu recipe to convice him tofu can be delicious and not rubbery. And to convince myself I suppose. I’ve had tofu plenty of times and find it to be cooked poorly with a lackluster result. Chances are if you’ve had tofu a few times you know what I’m talking about.
Just last week, I got my copy of Food 52’s Genius Recipes cookbook. As I was scanning through it I wanted to cook (and eat) everything. Usually I’m a little pickier than that so this is a good one to pick up. Seriously.
My heart stopped when I saw Yotam Ottolenghi’s Black Pepper Tofu. I knew I had the recipe that would make Matt a believer. Not only is this recipe beautiful, the tofu is perfectly done and it’s not difficult to achieve a brilliant result. It’s crunchy on the outside and airy and gooey in the middle. I never thought tofu could be so dreamy.
I adapted the recipe by cutting down on the butter (it calls for 11 Tablespoons and I used 8). It also calls for three different kinds of soy sauce including one that is sweet. I used just one with low sodium and to compensate for the sweet soy sauce I included 4 Tablespoons sugar instead of the two that are in the original recipe. I promise you’ll never think of tofu in the same way.
- 1 ¾ pounds firm tofu, cut into 1 inch pieces
- cornstarch, to dust
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 12 small shallots, thinly sliced
- 8 fresh red chiles, thinly sliced
- 12 cloves garlic crushed
- 3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
- 10 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 Tablespoons sugar
- 5 Tablespoons coarsely crushed black peppercorns
- 16 small thin green onions, cut into 1 ½ inch segments
- Start with the tofu. Pour enough oil into a large frying pan or wok to come ¼ inch up the side and heat over medium high heat. Drain tofu and lightly dry and cut tofu into about 1 inch cubes. Toss them in some cornstarch and shake off the excess. Then add to the hot oil in batches so that the tofu doesn’t stick to itself. Fry, turning them around, until they are golden all over and have a thin crust. As they are cooked transfer them onto paper towels and repeat until all of the tofu is cooked.
- Remove the oil and lightly clean pan with a paper towel. Next, add the butter and melt it over low to medium heat. Add the shallots, red chiles, garlic and ginger (not the green onions yet). Saute for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the ingredients have turned shiny and are totally soft.
- Add the soy sauces and sugar and stir, then add the crushed black pepper. Add the tofu to warm it up in the sauce for about a minute or two. Finally stir in the green onions. Serve hot, best over rice.