Black Pepper Tofu Stir Fry
A quick and easy crispy black pepper tofu stir fry recipe. Pan-fried tofu tossed in a vegan friendly spicy black pepper sauce. Ready in minutes!
Are you down for another #meatlessmonday meal? Black Pepper Tofu got me all excited.
GAH! We seriously couldn’t stop eating these crispy little nuggets of pan-fried tofu that later get tossed in a peppery brown gravy made with aromatics like shallots, garlic, ginger, but with a little spice too from chopped fresno chilis. And just to give it a little something extra, chopped scallions on top to give it that POP of color and flavor. And friends, this recipe is all about the pantry staples. Which is clearly becoming a trend on LSJ. We likey.
My black pepper tofu sauce is all about the flavor. Meatless does NOT have to mean flavorless. Basically when you sauté shallots, garlic, ginger, and chili peppers, you
expect demand something extra fabulous. And crispy bits of tofu tossed in a deep dark black pepper sauce that’s got some spice and is savory but sweet and peppery at the same time is all I can think about right now.
Mind you, I just finished my lunch.
And now that i’ve got you all hyped up about a tofu stir fry, let’s talk about how I get those little nuggets of tofu crispy that way.
Its as simple as a block of extra firm tofu – anywhere between 12-14 ounces is fine. Make sure you get extra firm because that’s the only kind of tofu i’ve been able to get as crispy as I like it for this recipe. Side note: why, oh why, do tofu blocks not come in 1 pound packages? I mean, seriously! Wouldn’t that just be sooo much easier? Okay, tofu packaging rant over.
Along with the tofu you need 1 heaping tablespoon of cornstarch. I’ve had readers comment on some of my other tofu stir fry recipes that they’ve tried arrowroot powder and it’s worked for them, rice flour will work as well. A couple tablespoons of oil and salt is all we need. My tofu pieces has a nice golden color to it, which I get from adding in an 1/8 teaspoon of chili powder. This is purely optional! But if you eat with your eyes first, like I do, it adds some nice color to the dish!
As always, press as much water out of your tofu as possible before coating it in the cornstarch mixture. Back when I was just dabbling with tofu, I used a couple of tea towels set on top/under the tofu with a few plates on top and a couple of cans from the pantry. Now that i’ve succumb to a full fledged love affair with tofu stir frys, i’ve invested in something called the tofu press. It will seriously change your tofu game my friend. And it takes much less time to squeeze the water out than the old tea towel method.
Now for that pepper sauce that MAKES this black pepper tofu all that and a bag of chips.
I’m lazy when it comes to mixing so I do this in a mason jar because a bowl and whisk some how, in my mind, add up to more dishes. It’s a little light soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, oyster sauce, peppercorn medley, brown sugar, and rice vinegar along with water and cornstarch to thicken.
The peppercorn medley is just a combination of red, white, green, and black peppercorns. I usually buy them whole and just run them through my spice grinder or with a mortar and pastel. Just be sure to grind it extra fine if you don’t like bits of peppercorn running through your sauce or if you’re cooking for little ones. Combine everything and just let it hang out while you press the tofu.
This black pepper tofu stir fry is delicious as dinner and the leftovers are always welcome for lunch around here. In fact, about 15 seconds after I was done shooting this recipe, I dived in! Lots of savory, lightly crispy, completely saucy bites of tofu on a bed of white rice. You could also do brown rice, tofu stir fry on its own, or on a bed of zoodles or swoodles (sweet potato noodles, you like?)
TALK ABOUT WINNING!
Black Pepper Tofu Stir Fry to make your Monday alllllll better! 🙂
- 1 (12-14 ounce) block extra firm tofu
- 1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch (or rice flour)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons oil, divided
- optional: 1/8 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne + Tofu press
black pepper sauce:
- 2 large shallots or 4 small, thinly sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 red fresno chilis, sliced
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste (I buy it Gourmet Garden from the refrigerated section)
- 2 tablespoons EACH: light soy sauce, sweet soy sauce AND oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoons pepper medley, coarsely ground (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup water + 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 6 scallions, cut into 1 inch strips
- TOFU: Press excess moisture out of the tofu using either the tea towels and heavy weights of the tofu press.This will take 15-20 minutes. Cut the tofu into bite sized pieces. In a zip top bag, combine the cornstarch, salt, and chili powder if desired. Zip and give the bag a shake. Add the tofu to the bag, zip, and continue to shake until the tofu is evenly coated with the cornstarch mixture.
- SAUCE: While the tofu is drying, prepare the sauce. Combine the light soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, oyster sauce, coarse ground pepper, brown sugar, vinegar, water, and cornstarch in a mason jar. Give the jar a shake until combined.
- STIR FRY: In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat. Add the cubed tofu to the pan and let fry for 5-6 minutes, flipping the tofu as needed to ensure even browning on all sides. Remove the tofu to a plate, set aside. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet, Add the sliced shallots and sauté until the onions cook down, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic along with the chilis and sauté for another 3-4 minutes or until the onions and garlic are fragrant and soften. Add the ginger paste and continue to cook for 1 minutes before adding the tofu back to the pan. Drizzle with the prepared black pepper sauce and stir to combine. When the sauce thickens, remove from heat. Sprinkle the scallions on top and serve warm with white/brown rice, quinoa, over zoodles/swoodles, or on it's own!
- Note that this stir fry is a little spicy! As in it warm pretty warm wit the two fresno chilis + peppercorns. If you aren't a fan of spice, i'd suggest starting with 1 chili and removing the seeds/ribs to make it more mild. You can also cut back on some of the black pepper to preference!
- Oyster sauce is also known and 'oyster flavored sauce' and is usually available in most Asian grocery stores. 'Oyster flavored sauce' usually is imitation flavored and not made from real oyster. If vegan, check the labeling before purchasing!
- I usually buy a whole pepper medley that contains white, red, green, and black peppercorns. Just run them through the spice grinder/ mortar and pestle under they are a coarse ground. If you don't want bits of pepper throughout the meal, you can also do a fine ground!