Friday, 6 July 2012

Recipe Corner - Ottolenghi's black pepper tofu

Tofu with rice.  Nice, honestly.

It came as something of a surprise to me when my unashamedly carnivorous partner in crime came home one day with Yotam Ottolenghi's "Plenty".  It's a vegetarian recipe book you see.  Still more surprising was the number of sticky labels that the book sprouted when he went through deciding what he was going to cook.  

We've had a few dishes from the book now and all of them have been absolutely delicious - I'd thoroughly recommend it if you fancy trying some vegetarian cooking that even the staunchest meat eaters will enjoy.  One small point - Mr Ottolenghi is not shy about the amount of butter and oil he deploys in his dishes.  I've reduced it in the tofu dish that I've shared with you below - this is still a Weight Watchers blog after all!  

This tofu is scrummy.  It has such a worthy reputation doesn't it?  But it's lovely, a fantastic sponge for flavours and, as you'll note from the ingredients list there are a LOT of flavours going on here. I've reduced the amount of peppercorns slightly as I found the peppery heat slightly overwhelming when used alongside all those chillies.  If you're a heat fiend then leave the chilli seeds in.  I have a sensitive mouth and prefer them de-seeded.


400g firm tofu
Tbsp vegetable oil
Tbsp cornflour
30g butter
6 small shallots, thinly sliced
4 fresh red chillies, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1.5 tbsp grated fresh root ginger
1.5 tbsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
Tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp crushed black peppercorns
Small bunch of spring onions, sliced

Serves 2, 12 pro points per serving

Heat the oil in a frying pan.  Cut the tofu into cubes and dust wiyh the cornflour then add to the hot pan and brown on all sides.  You may need to do this in batches and it may well take longer than you think,  but patience is required here.

Now, wipe out the pan, return it to a lower heat and melt the butter.  Add the shallots, chillies, garlic and ginger and cook for around 15 minutes, stirring every now and then, until everything is soft and shiny. Now you can add the sauces, the sugar and the pepper.

Return the tofu pieces to the pan and toss gently to coat them in flavour without breaking them up.  Finally, stir through the spring onions.  Serve with steamed rice

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