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A plate of Chinese salt and pepper tofu
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5 from 3 votes

Salt and Pepper Tofu (Jiao Yan Dou Fu, 椒盐豆腐)

Tender tofu with a golden, crispy crust and super aromatic seasonings, salt and pepper tofu can be made to perfection at home.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Tofu, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 2
Calories: 291kcal
Author: Wei Guo

Ingredients

For the tofu

  • 320 g tofu, firm or medium-firm, at room temperature about 11oz
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour/plain flour see note 1
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch, or potato starch/tapioca starch
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder optional, see note 2
  • ½ teaspoon salt and pepper seasoning shop-bought or homemade (see recipe below)
  • Neutral cooking oil for shallow frying or air-frying

For stir-frying

  • 2 tablespoon minced shallot, or onion
  • 2 tablespoon minced chili pepper
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 stalk scallion, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt and pepper seasoning shop-bought or homemade (see recipe below)

For homemade salt and pepper seasoning (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon whole Sichuan pepper remove the black seeds if any
  • ½ star anise separate the pods and remove the brown seeds
  • ½ teaspoon sesame seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Fry the tofu

  • Cut tofu into cubes (about 2.5 cm/1 inch each side).
  • Sift flour, starch and baking powder into a large plate. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper seasoning then mix well.
  • Use a clean kitchen towel or kitchen paper to pat dry the tofu cubes then put them into the flour mixture. Evenly and thinly coat all sides. Use hands to remove excess flour.
  • Heat up oil in a wok/pan over medium-high heat (the oil should be generously covering the entire surface). Gently put in tofu (Don’t overcrowd. Fry in two batches if necessary). You should see bubbles appearing around the tofu straight away, otherwise, the oil isn’t hot enough yet.
  • Use chopsticks or tongs to flip the tofu several times to ensure each side is evenly fried. Transfer out to a plate lined with kitchen paper (to soak excess oil) when all sides are nicely golden.

Combine the dish

  • Remove most of the oil leaving about ½ tablespoonful in the wok/pan. Add shallots, chili pepper and garlic. Fry over medium heat for about 1 min.
  • Add the fried tofu cubes, chopped scallions and ½ teaspoon salt & pepper seasoning (or to taste). Toss briefly to season evenly. Dish out and serve immediately.

Make the salt & pepper seasoning (optional)

  • Put Sichuan pepper, star anise, sesame seeds, fennel seeds and salt into a pan. Toast over low heat while stirring from time to time.
  • Once the salt darkens slightly and the spices become very fragrant, remove from the heat then grind in a mortar or a spice grinder (see note 3).

Notes

1. If you wish to make this dish gluten-free, you may replace the flour with starch.
2. Baking powder helps to brown the tofu while frying and it increases the crispiness slightly. Please feel free to skip it if unavailable.
3. The quantity suggested produces much more salt and pepper seasoning than what you need for this recipe. Keep the leftover in an airtight jar for later use.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 291kcal