Meatless Monday: Black Pepper Tofu

In February, we re-instituted meatless Mondays.  Most of our meatless recipes have been coming from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi.  All of his recipes have been delicious and are things we wouldn’t usually eat.  It has taken a few trips to different international market/asian grocery stores to get supplies, but it was well worth it!  Some day I hope to visit his restaurant.  Most dishes make enough that Tuesday becomes meatless too.  We have only missed one day, but I do usually use chicken broth instead of veggie broth.  I always have chicken broth goop in the fridge, and veggie broth would often require a last minute run to the grocery store.  We aren’t vegetarian, so I figured the spirit of the day is still upheld 🙂

This is a lineup of some of our meatless Monday dishes.  Soba noodles with mango and eggplant, meatless lentil meatloaf, warm glass noodles with edamame, fluffy dinner rolls with broiled veggy soup, african spiced lentil soup, and stuffed onions.


One of my personal favorites was the blackened tofu.  It is fried tofu in a spicy sauce.  I have been serving it with sticky rice.  Drew loves it too!  Leftovers are tasty, but the tofu does lose its crispiness.


Black Pepper Tofu (serves 4)

28 oz extra firm tofu or firm tofu

vegetable oil for frying

cornstarch (enough to coat tofu)

5 tbsp butter

12 small shallots, sliced thin

2 mild, large red or green chiles, sliced thin

12 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp minced fresh ginger or 1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger

6 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

4 tsp tamari

3 tbsp sugar

2-4 tbsp fresh ground black peppercorns (the original recipe calls for 4, but I always only use about 2 tbsp

1 small bunch of green onions, chopped

rice for serving


Drain the tofu, pat dry with a towel and set aside.  Add enough oil to a large frying pan so that it is about 1/4 inch deep and heat.  While the oil is heating, slice the tofu into bite size cubes and toss in cornstarch.  Shake of extra corn starch, and add the tofu to the hot oil in a single layer.  You may need to fry the tofu in multiple batches depending on the size of your pan.  Turn the tofu as it fries.  It is done when it has a thin hard crust.  (The recipe says the tofu should turn golden all over.  Sometimes my tofu turns golden sometimes it doesn’t.  I just take it out when it has a hard crust on all sides.)  Strain out the cooked tofu with a slotted spoon or spatula and place on a paper towel lined plate.  Continue frying until all tofu is cooked.

Drain the oil from the pan, and melt the butter.  Add the shallots, chiles, garlic, and ginger (if using powdered ginger, add during the last minute of cooking). Saute on medium heat for about 15 minutes or until totally soft.  Add the soy sauce, tamari, sugar, and black pepper.  Stir to combine.  Add in tofu and warm.  Stir in the green onions and serve hot over rice.

Recipe slightly adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi