Black Pepper Tofu

  Prep Time: 30mins
  Cook Time: 25mins
  Serves: 4


  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 800g firm tofu
  • Cornstarch, to dust
  • 150g nuttelex (or any vegan spread)
  • 12 small shallots (approx 340g), thinly sliced
  • 8 fresh red chillies (fairly mild ones), thinly sliced
  • 12 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons coarsely crushed black peppercorns (use a mortar and pestle or a Spice grinder)
  • 16 small, thin green onions, cut into 1¼ inch (3cm) segments


Step 1

Start with the tofu. Pour enough oil into a large frying pan or wok to come 1/4 inch (6mm) up the sides and heat over medium-high. Cut the tofu into large cubes, about 1 inch (2.5cm) square. Toss them in some cornstarch and shake off the excess, then add to the hot oil. (You'll need to fry the tofu pieces in a few batches so they don't stew in the pan.) Fry, turning them around as you go, until they are golden all over and have a thin crust. As they are cooked, transfer them onto paper towels.

Step 2

Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan, then add the butter and melt it over low to medium heat. Add the shallots, chillies, garlic, and ginger. Saute for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients have turned shiny and are totally soft. Next, add the soy sauces and sugar and stir, then add the crushed black pepper.

Step 3

Add the tofu to warm it up in the sauce for about a minute. Finally, stir in the green onions. Serve hot.