Hello, everyone! Here I am, playing with oil again. Nothing crazy, just a spot of shallow-frying... and I've got to say, it's actually quite a wholesome and surprisingly delicate dish, this vegan, gluten-free salt and pepper tofu. I'm popping it into my mouth for a snack... I'm cradling it with gently steamed Asian greens for a meal. It makes a nice little weeknight dinner, or a weekend lunch for one.
So tell me... what do you look for in a salt and pepper tofu dish?
Light, crispy, and well-seasoned on the outside? Hot, silky and tender on the inside?
Something akin to this, perchance?
For me, the answer is yes, yes - and oh yes, that's it! Ah... little bite-sized bite-me pieces of tofu, with a bit of crunch and a bit of tremble...
Here, I used fresh Chinese-style beancurd of a semi-firm texture, the type that is usually sold in tubs of water. They're diced and tossed through a salty, spicy blend of rice flour and cornstarch - seriously, try this... it yields a truly fine, exquisite texture - then sizzled till crisp and golden.
I also steamed some bok choy, then conjured a dressing with light soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon juice, and freshly grated ginger to go with it. Unfortunately, I didn't note down exact quantities for this - but just taste as you go, that's what I did!
light & crispy salt and triple-pepper tofu
200g fresh Chinese-style semi-firm tofu
3 tablespoons rice flour
1 tablespoon corn flour (aka cornstarch)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground (optional)
oil, for frying
Cut tofu into cubes of 2 - 2.5 centimetres. (Approximately an inch or slightly under.) Whatever you do, just try to make sure they are all of similar size to ensure even frying later.
Thoroughly mix all other ingredients (except the oil) together to create a gluten-free salt-and-pepper flour blend.
Toss tofu cubes through the flour blend, making sure they are coated on all sides. Divide into four batches.
Pour oil into a small frying pan to a height of about 1 centimetre (1/2 inch).
Let the oil warm rapidly over high heat for about 30 seconds, then fry the coated tofu cubes a batch at a time, turning, until golden and crispy on all sides. Retrieve the tofu and drain off excess oil on paper towels. Loosely sprinkle with an extra pinch of salt, if desired.
Serve with vegetables, and perhaps a dollop of rice, and you've got yourself a complete meal!