This Easy Healthy Vegan Salt & Pepper Tofu is the perfect dish for when you are missing Chinese takeaway. It’s much healthier too, and it tastes fantastic. This dish will definitely fix your cravings.
Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu is a popular Chinese dish. The tofu cubes have a super crispy exterior and a soft and silky center. The dish is very easy to make and ready in less than an hour.
When we go to Chinese restaurants, one of our favorite dishes to order is crispy salt and pepper tofu. But it’s also quite easy to prepare at home.
What I love about the dish is the contrast between the incredibly crunchy exterior and soft, silky interior.
FRYING WITH CORNSTARCH:
The super crunchy batter is achieved by coating the tofu in cornstarch before frying. Because cornstarch is almost pure starch, it produces a much crispier crust than frying with flour. Many fried Chinese dishes use cornstarch as the batter. It’s quicker, less heavy and the result is quite delicious…not to mention gluten-free too.
PRESSING THE TOFU:
It’s important to press the tofu before cooking with it because tofu retains so much water. I usually press mine for 15-20 minutes and then pat dry the tofu cubes. If the tofu is too wet, the cornstarch will also not properly coat the tofu which will make it hard to fry.
To press the tofu, place a small cutting board over the tofu. Place a heavy object on top of the cutting board. The constant application of gentle pressure should release a lot of the water from the tofu
Alternatively – use extra firm tofu and you can skip pressing it.
SHOP FOR EQUIPMENT FOR THIS RECIPE:
Don’t have the needed equipment to make this recipe? Don’t worry, I got you covered!
I have linked you below with all the equipment you may need for this recipe, so that will save you the time to look for them!
Let’s have some Chinese!
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Easy Healthy Vegan Salt & Pepper Tofu
- 15 oz/396g pack firm tofu
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp Sichuan or black peppercorns or a mixture of the two, ground to a powder
- 2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
- 2 red peppers sliced
- ¼ of a broccoli head
- 1/4 head of broccoli cut into very small florets
- 1/4 cup 100g beansprouts
- 2 tbsp low-salt soy sauce use tamari for gluten-free
- sesame oil for drizzling
- a handful of coriander leaves picked
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Drain the tofu, wrap loosely in kitchen paper and put on a plate. Rest a chopping board on top. If you’re using a light chopping board, weigh it down with a couple of cans – a heavier chopping board will be sufficient on its own. Leave for 10-20 mins until the cloth feels wet from the excess liquid. Pressing the tofu like this helps to give it a firmer texture once cooked.Alternatively, use extra firm tofu and you can skip the first step.
- Cut the tofu in half down the center like a book. Cut each piece into four triangles, as you would a piece of toast, then in half again to give you 16 pieces in total. Mix the cornflour, ground pepper, and 1 tsp flaky sea salt on a plate. Gently turn each piece of tofu in the cornflour mix to coat.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok. Stir-fry the peppers and broccoli for a few minutes, to soften a little. Add the beansprouts and soy sauce. Cook for another 1-2 mins, making sure the veg still has a nice crunch. Drizzle with a little sesame oil.
- Heat the remaining sunflower oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the coated tofu for 5 mins on each side until crisp. Serve on top of the vegetables, scattered with the coriander.