This salt and pepper tofu is so crispy and makes the perfect snack or easy dinner. Serve with plenty of soy sauce and rice or noodles to make it a full meal.
This classic recipe is such a great snack or dinner idea, I cannot get enough!
As I've mentioned a couple of times now I've recently had a new found love for tofu. It has never featured very heavily in my diet because it can sometimes be a bit bland and I am all about that flavour.
But then I realised that the fact I didn't like tofu was really all down to me and my failure to cook it with all the flavour it needed and so I've been on a bit of a journey the last few months (and Will has been my somewhat unwilling passenger) to find all the delicious ways to cook with tofu. Tofu lends itself so well to vegan recipes so it's something I'm really keen to use more.
I kicked off with a super simple spicy noodles with crispy tofu which was great for adding loads of flavour to the tofu and made a perfect weeknight dinner and now I'm all about this salt and pepper tofu which works great with noodles for a main meal but also makes the most amazing snack or appetiser!
Pressing the tofu
The key thing I've learned about making tofu is that pressing the tofu is very important. The few times we cooked it without pressing it were pretty disappointing but pressing it makes such a difference to the texture of the tofu so I highly recommend doing it, even just for 10 minutes.
I don't have a fancy tofu press, all I do is put a couple of pieces of kitchen roll on the top and bottom of the tofu between two plates then put a couple of tins of food or a cast iron skillet on top and leave it for as much time as I have.
The other thing that's most important is to fry it in hot oil until crispy. I haven't tried any other methods of cooking tofu yet but if you're frying it then it needs to be in hot oil and it needs to be tossed in cornflour first to make it extra crispy. For this recipe I also mix a little chilli powder into the cornflour to add a little extra flavour to the fried tofu.
Why we love this recipe:
- It's vegan so great for anyone avoiding meat and animal products
- It is super crispy thanks to the cornflour and high frying heat
- It takes just 30 minutes to make so you can have it for a quick weeknight dinner with noodles or as a snack
- It's nut free, gluten free and dairy free which makes it amazing for anyone with dietary restrictions
This section is here to provide further tips and ideas for alternative ingredients. The full recipe and instructions are included in the recipe card at the bottom of the post!
- Firm Tofu: Make sure you get firm or extra firm tofu, very important, the silken stuff will not work at all in this recipe
- Vegetable Oil: For frying the tofu
- Cornflour: To toss the tofu in before frying to get it extra crispy. Also known as cornstarch in the US
- Spices: Chilli powder, sichuan peppercorns, garlic and chillies all go into the recipe to make the tofu extra flavourful with a spicy kick. Chilli powder also works great in this veggie chilli
- Sugar: Just a little to add a hint of sweetness
- Salt: The perfect balance to the pepperiness of the spices
- Spring Onions, Fresh Coriander and Lime Wedges: For serving and adding that touch of freshness. Use up leftover spring onions in this mushroom bao
How to make it
- Prep the tofu: Pat the tofu dry then press for at least 10 minutes. Slice into cubes and toss in the cornflour and chilli powder.
- Fry the tofu: Heat the oil then fry the tofu in batches until it's golden brown and crispy, drain on a paper towel lined plate.
- Add the spices and toppings: Mix the peppercorns with sugar and salt. Fry the garlic, chilli and spring onion then add the tofu and sprinkle over the salt and pepper mixture. Serve topped with coriander and lime and soy sauce and sesame seeds for a dipping sauce.
Where to buy tofu?
Tofu is available in most supermarkets. It's in the fridge section and I normally find it with the speciality vegetarian ingredients.
Can I make it spicy?
There's a bit of a kick to this recipe already from the chilli powder and three chillies but you can absolutely increase the amount of either of those if you like it extra spicy!
Want more? Try these other spicy recipes!
- Spicy Salted Chicken with Scallions
- Chilli Prawns with Tomato Butter & Aleppo Pepper
- Spicy Carrot Soup
- Spicy Soup with Beans & Rice
- Ginger Beef Stir Fry
- Thai Fish Cakes with Peanut Sauce
Crispy Fried Salt and Pepper Tofu
- 340 g Firm Tofu
- Vegetable Oil for frying
- Cornflour for dusting
- 1 teaspoon Chilli Powder
- ½ teaspoon Sichuan Peppercorns crushed, if you can't get hold of them then you can use freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Salt Flakes
- 3 cloves Garlic crushed
- 3 Chillies sliced
- 2 Spring Onions sliced
- Fresh Coriander
- Lime Wedges to serve
- Soy Sauce to serve
- Pat the tofu dry and press for at least 10 minutes. Cut into small cubes.
- Heat 4cm oil to 180°C/350°F in a large frying pan or wok. Dust the tofu with cornflour and chilli powder, add to the oil and fry until crisp on all sides. Cook in batches if you need to then drain on kitchen paper.
- Mix the crushed sichuan peppercorns with the sugar and salt. Pour all but 2 tablespoon oil away then return to the heat and add the garlic, chilli and spring onions then add the tofu and sprinkle over the seasoning and cook for 2 minutes. Tip out onto a plate and top with coriander and lime. Serve with soy sauce.
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