The photograph of Black Pepper Tofu had inspired me to buy “Plenty” by Yotam Ottolenghi. I tried the tofu recipe right away, but it did not immediately become one of my favorites: Too much tofu for my taste, not enough vegetables and way too much black pepper. And either chillies should dominate or black pepper but not both. However, all other recipes from “Plenty” that I have tried out so far were fantastic, I can absolutely recommend the book.
The recipe has in the meantime undergone a quite radical métamorphose in my kitchen. Since it is prepared in no time at all, it is very well suited for a lone vegetarian among meat lovers in need for a meatless alternative. You can (and proably should) reduce the quantites so that they serve only one or two eaters. Keep in mind, though, that it is really delicious and others may want to try out a bit.
Serves four, prepared in 20 minutes.
- 150 g not too soft tofu
- 100 g corn starch
- 1 heaping tbls finely chopped ginger root
- 1 heaping tbls sugar
- 2 carots
- 1/2 yellow pepper
- 100 g bean sprouts
- 100 g snow peas
- 2 cloves garlic
- 100 g baby spinach
- 1 tbls kecap asin
- 1 tbls kecap manis
- 1 tbls light soy sauce
- juice from 1/2 lime
- black pepper
- ca. 300 ml olive oil
- Cut the tofu into cubes of 1-2 cm.
- Pour olive oil into a pan or wok until it comes up 0.5 cm at the sides. Heat until bubbles rise at a wooden spoon.
- Dust the tofu in the starch, shake of the excess and add it to the hot oil. Stir regularly, until it is golden brown and has a crust.
- Transfer the tofu with a skimmer on a plate laid out with kitchen paper. Dry also from above with kitchen paper.
Wash the vegetables. Cut the two carots and 1/2 yellow pepper into bite-sized pieces. Crush the garlic with a knife. Cut the chillies into rings.
- Finely chop 1 heaping tbls ginger root and heat the wok. Pour 1 heaping tbls sugar into the wok. As soon as the sugar starts melting, add the ginger.
- When the sugar has caramelized golden brown, add 2 tbsp olive oil. Stir-fry the carots for about a minute. Add the bean sprouts, the snow peas, the garlic, and the peppers and keep on stir-frying for another minute.
- Add the chillies, and after another half a minute of stir-frying the spinach.
Deglaze with lime juice, 1 tbsp kecap manis, 1 tbsp kecap anis, and 2 tbsp light soy sauce. Add the fried tofu, season to taste with black pepper and serve hot.
Trust your intuition, experience and taste when stir-frying. The exact times needed heavily depend on the temperature, on your wok and the size of the vegetables. If something becomes too soft, transfer it to the edges of the wok with the chop sticks.
The original recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi is also online. By the way: The “corn flour” from his list of ingredients is really starch, not flour, it is just the British way of saying it.
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