Salt and Pepper Tofu

Crispy fried tofu tossed with salt, white pepper, fried garlic and spicy peppers.



Salt and pepper tofu is a crispy tofu dish with a hint of spice from spicy long green peppers and white pepper powder. This recipe is simple yet it has a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. To make this recipe, you'll need firm tofu, either pre-fried or you can fry it yourself, long hot green peppers, garlic, white pepper, salt and scallions. This dish is completely vegetarian and vegan friendly and a delicious side dish to have with freshly steamed rice or noodles.


Ingredients:


1 lb pre-fried tofu or 16 oz package firm tofu, cubed

1 long hot green pepper, minced

1 stalk scallion

1 tsp white pepper powder

1 tsp kosher salt

5 cloves garlic, minced

Vegetable oil


Preparing the Tofu


Tofu is a soy based food made from coagulated soy milk and comes in different forms: silken, soft, firm, extra firm. Salt and pepper tofu uses firm tofu. Frying firm tofu will create a crispy outer layer and tender center. This method retains the texture of the tofu and can be seasoned and tossed on high heat in a wok. If you have access to pre-fried tofu, this can save a lot of cooking time if you're looking to create this dish quickly but the tofu can always be fried fresh for best results. This recipe features pre-fried tofu but I will walk through the steps of frying firm tofu.


Store bought firm tofu retains a lot of water so the key to creating the perfect texture fried tofu is by pressing the tofu to remove the excess water. I like to use place towels on a plate and press another plate on the top of the tofu and place frying pan on top and allow it to sit for about 20 mins once most of the moisture has absorbed into the towel. Once your tofu has been pressed, cut into cubes and place in a bowl and toss with a pinch of salt and corn starch. Heat the wok or a frying pan to medium heat and add oil for a shallow fry and fry the tofu for 3 - 5 mins or until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the oil and drain the excess oil and you have crispy tofu.


Visual Instructions:



Prepare ingredients: mince scallion separating the white and green parts. The green will be used for garnish. Minced the long hot green pepper and garlic.


Making Fried Garlic


Fried garlic is incredibly crispy and fragrant, adding a wonderful aroma to dishes. Frying is easy as it only requires oil and minced garlic but it's important to keep a close eye as there's a slim time frame between perfectly fried and burnt garlic. Temperature control and stirring is essential to maintain the garlic from frying. Start by heating a small frying pan or sauce pan to medium heat, add two tablespoons of vegetable/canola/grapeseed oil and wait until the oil fully heats up. Add the minced garlic and stir occassionally while it shimmers. Once the garlic reaches golden brown, turn off the heat and immediately strain the fried garlic using a fine strainer and set aside. Reserve the oil for cooking.



Bring the wok to medium/high heat and fry the scallion whites and long pepper for 2 mins.



Add the fried garlic and continue stirring for 1 min.



Toss in the fried tofu along with the white pepper powder and salt and stir for an additional 2 mins.



Remove from heat and place onto a serving plate, garnishing with scallions.



Directions:

  1. Prepare the fried tofu. For pre-fried tofu, fry all sides in oil for 2 - 3 mins until crispy. For fresh firm tofu, see instructions above under "Preparing the Tofu."

  2. Prepare the fried garlic. *See instructions above under "Making Fried Garlic."

  3. Bring the wok to medium/high heat and fry the scallion whites and long pepper for 2 mins.

  4. Add the fried garlic and continue stirring for 1 min.

  5. Toss in the fried tofu along with the white pepper powder and salt and stir for 2 mins.

  6. Add the fried garlic and continue stirring for 1 min.

  7. Remove from heat and place onto a serving plate, garnishing with scallions. Serve immediately and enjoy.