Peppery Tofu
By Radhika on June 6, 2020

I am no Indiana Jones!

I don’t trek up the Namcha Barwa, or white-water raft down the Zanskar.

And I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never been pursued by the head hunting Dayaks of Borneo. Nor ever ventured crocodile hunting on the Zambezi.

In fact I’m so NOT adventurous, that when I go to an Indian restaurant I always order paneer butter masala or malai kofta.

Oh, and this one time I ordered dal makhani.

So-rry! I’m trying…..

So when my kids took me to Thanying, the Thai restaurant at Amara, here in Singapore, I decided to break out of my cocoon and order something other than my favourite Thai Green curry (“no mushrooms, and no fish sauce please!”) and pineapple rice.

I scanned the menu, my heart racing at the sight of the unfamiliar and the uncharted.I finally chose to order the tofu with green pepper, accompanied by steamed rice. (This to me, was like swimming with the sharks.)

When the dish arrived, it was aromatic and delicious looking, and the jasmine rice fragrant and inviting.

I tucked in, and I’d found my new favourite Thai dish!

It was spicy thanks to the fresh green pepper and the oodles of ground black pepper it in. It had notes of soy and sweet brown sugar and the tofu was crisp on the outside and addictive all over.

D declared that she wanted this tofu dish every single day. And so began my quest for the elusive tofu dish….

My search, short of taking me to the alleys of Cairo and the valleys of Khatmandu, led me to Macheesmo. A foodie blog written by Nick Evans. A guy who loves to cook! (I hope my husband is reading this).

Nick makes everyday, no-nonsense food. Food that is simple and delicious, with explanations that are easy to follow.

I had found my Holy Grail Tofu dish.

Here is my (spicier) version of Nick’s excellent dish, using fresh green pepper, regular black pepper, red chillies and green scallion.

Colourful, flavourful and delightful!

Golden Peppery Tofu

Recipe:

1/2 kg extra firm tofu, pressed and cubed

Cornstarch, for dusting1/2 cup vegetable oil, for frying the tofu2-3 tablespoons oil4-5 cloves garlic, minced1-2 inches fresh ginger, diced

1 medium onion, diced fine

4-5 large red chillies, sliced (use less if you aren’t as adventurous as me)

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Salt to taste

4-5 stalks fresh green pepper (optional)

1 tablespoon black peppercorns, roughly ground

6 scallions, chopped

Method:

Cut the tofu into slices that are 1/2″ thick and drain well on paper towels with a gentle weight on them.

Tofu cubes tossed in cornstarch

Cube the drained tofu and toss in cornstarch to coat the cubes.

Shallow frying

Shallow fry the cubes of tofu in batches. Put some in a single layer, in a large flat-bottomed pan, adding a couple tablespoons of oil for each batch. Turn the cubes of tofu often until the sides are golden and crisp.

Golden tofu

Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Onions, ginger and garlic being sweated

In the same pan add 2-3 tbsps oil and fry the onions, ginger, garlic and red chillies until soft.

A mix of red jalapeños and chilli padi

Pour in the soy sauce and the brown sugar, then add the green pepper.

After 2-3 minutes, add the cubes of tofu and toss until well coated. Add salt to taste.

Add the crushed black pepper and cook for a few minutes more.

Take off the heat, pour into a serving dish, then top with the chopped scallion.

Peppery Tofu

Serve with white rice and enjoy!


And now goodbye- while I make travel plans to Patagonia.So, what is the most adventurous thing you have done?

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice!
Pretty in Pink

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