A couple of years ago I spied Yotam Ottolenghi’s vegetarian cookbook Plenty and was very intrigued by the Black Pepper Tofu Recipe. I think it had something like 10 garlic cloves and 5 tablespoons of black pepper! It was so over the top, I new had to try it. And I have no idea why it took me so long!
I did tone it down quite a bit (less garlic and pepper), but there is still a lot of both.
Sweet soy sauce is really amazing. We have both an Indonesian kecap manisand a Thai version like this one (I wanted to test the difference). They are pretty similar in that they are both thick and molassesy, but I would say the kecap manis was saltier. I think they are pretty interchangeable for our tastes. I skipped the sugar since the sweet soy sauce is sweet enough for us.
You know, I am actually not even a big black pepper fan, I skip it often in recipes, not wanting to have that little background taste of pepper. But I have come to realize that I do love pepper as long as it is in the right place, even if there is tons of it!
1-2 tablespoons butter
6 medium/big shallots (~6 ounces) thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves smashed and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger
2 Thai red chilis
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package tofu (15.5 ounces) chopped into little squares and pressed dry
2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (Indonesian kecap manis or a Thai sweet soy sauce like Sweet Soy Sauce Healthy Boy Brand)
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (I used Pearl River Bridge Superior Dark Soy Sauce)
2 tablespoons regular soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon fresh crushed peppercorns (I started to use a mortal and pestle, gave up and used a coffee grinder for a couple of pushes!)
2 green onions sliced
- Heat the butter in a saute pan and cook the shallots, garlic, ginger and chilis over medium heat until softened and browned.
- Meanwhile heat the oil in a separate skillet and add the tofu squares. Let brown on one side then turn. Keep turning until a few sides are browned. I flipped each using a finger.
- Back to the shallot pan: add the soy sauces, peppercorns and salt to taste. Throw in the tofu and toss to coat with the sauce. Top with shallots.