Ottolenghi’s Black Pepper Tofu
This dish is intense. The foundation of the sauce is 12 sliced shallots; that’s a lot – a whole lot of shallot. There are 12 cloves of garlic, plus five whole tablespoons of crushed black pepper. It’s hot – really hot; I thought my face was going to fall off, and that’s even without the eight recommended chillies. I’d overlooked this part of the recipe and had just one lonely, shrivelled specimen in the fridge. Feeling lazy I thought, sod it, I’ll just add some chilli flakes at the end if its not hot enough. I seriously cannot even imagine the raging inferno had I used even three or four. That pepper alone is something special.
It’s amazing though, and hugely addictive. The first key to its success is getting that sleek, healthy tofu, and giving it a damn good frying in hot oil until a golden crust forms all over. It’s then added back to the shallots, garlic and chilli, simmered with three kinds of soy sauce (light, dark and sweet) and garnished with spring onions. Bob’s your uncle.
This dish needs to be eaten fresh and hot; it’s the kind of thing you think will taste awesome cold for lunch the next day – it doesn’t. It’s a shadow of its former self; just a warning.
Recipe here. Go! Make it!