I think lots of people struggle with tofu, we certainly do. It can be lovely when cooked right or it can be ‘meh’ if cooked badly. There’s something about the bland flabbiness which can totally fail to inspire. My favourite way to eat tofu is enrobed in cornflour and fried until crisp, then seasoned and dipped; at least then you have a pleasing texture and flavour.
That inspired this recipe – my vegetarian take on salt and pepper squid served with a sweet, zingy, salty soy-based dip. The addition of fried chilli and garlic (plus spring onion if you have some to hand) and then the pounded salt, pepper and touch of sugar seasoning adds a great depth of flavour to the crispy tofu. It works wonderfully dunked in the salty/sweet dipping sauce. Even the girls quite liked this version of tofu which is no mean feat!
Salt and Pepper Tofu
(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)
1 pack tofu
2-3 tbsps cornflour
Oil for frying
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 or 2 spring onions, finely sliced
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper corns
Pinch of caster sugar
- First drain the tofu, wrap in kitchen towels and place a heavy weight on top to compress it.
- Next make the salt and pepper seasoning: in a pestle and mortar, grind together the salt, peppercorns and sugar to form a powder. Set aside.
- Cut the tofu into even sized pieces, coat in cornflour and fry until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.
- When ready to serve, heat a little oil in a wok or frying pan, stir fry the chilli, garlic (and spring onion if using) until fragrant then add the crispy tofu and stir fry for a couple of minutes to coat in the flavours and warm through. Add the salt and pepper seasoning and toss through to evenly coat the tofu pieces. Serve with dipping sauce.
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsps boiling water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp light soy sauce
- Mix the ingredients together and pour into a decorative dipping bowl.