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Black Pepper Tofu with Broccoli

5 from 3 reviews

This vegan stir-fry of black pepper tofu with broccoli is flavor-packed and full of interesting textures. Equal parts spicy, savory, and sweet, crispy, crunchy, and caramelized, this recipe is perfect for a delicious weeknight dinner or as part of an Asian-inspired feast with friends.

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 bricks firm tofu, cubed (800 g or 28 oz, in total)
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch/cornflour 
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil or grapeseed oil
  • 3 tbsp butter (regular or vegan butter)
  • 68 medium shallots, thinly sliced (1.5 cups or 150 g)
  • 57 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
  • 46 hot red chilis (like small Thai chilis), thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
  • 1 large head broccoli, cut into florets (34 cups or 350 g)
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar, packed
  • 4 tbsp dark soy sauce (see notes)
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce (see notes)
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns, freshly cracked
  • 2 green/spring onions, white parts only, cut finely on an extreme slant

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, toss the tofu and cornstarch together until the cornstarch evenly coats the tofu. This will help us get a beautiful, crispy crust on the tofu.
  2. In a wok over medium-high heat, heat up the oil. Fry the tofu in 3-4 batches to avoid overcrowding the wok. Use some tongs to turn the tofu pieces every few minutes, until each side is golden brown and crisped up. Place the fried tofu cubes on a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Once complete, carefully remove any excess oil from the pan. 
  3. In the wok over low-medium heat, melt the butter. Add in the shallots, garlic, ginger, and chilis. Sauté them for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until everything is cooked through and soft.
  4. In the meantime, in a small bowl, mix together the dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, brown sugar, and black pepper. Set aside. 
  5. Turn the heat up to medium-high, add in the broccoli florets, and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, until the broccoli is bright green and cooked through, but still crunchy. Add another tablespoon of butter during this step, if necessary. 
  6. Turn the wok back down to low-medium heat. Re-stir the sauce mixture in the bowl, then add it into the wok. Add in the tofu. Stir everything together. Allow the tofu to heat through, for about 2 minutes. Stir in the green onions, and more slices of fresh red chili (if desired). 
  7. Enjoy immediately with some rice, like basmati or jasmine. You could even try it with rice noodles!

Notes

  • Light soy sauce is not the same as low-sodium soy sauce and dark soy sauce is not the same as regular soy sauce! You need both to make this recipe. Light soy sauce is salty, reddish-brown in color, thin in viscosity, and has a lighter flavor. Dark soy sauce is almost black; it’s thicker, a little sweeter, and slightly less salty than light soy sauce. It’s aged longer and has a more full-bodied flavor. Combining light soy sauce and dark soy sauce creates a rich, balanced, full-bodied sauce that will help caramelize whatever you’re cooking. The pair also make a beautiful, deep color.
  • If you don’t already have a traditional Chinese wok, I recommend getting this one. It will make all of your future Asian-inspired cooking adventures easier and far more enjoyable!

Keywords: black pepper tofu, black pepper tofu with broccoli, black pepper and ginger tofu