Salt and pepper tofu (book, p. 65) is traditionally made with soft tofu or so I was led to believe. Soft tofu is hard to work with in this recipe so I’d usually replace it with hard tofu. Clearly my salt & pepper tofu wasn’t as good as the one from the restaurant but it was good enough. I only recently learnt that soaking the hard tofu in a mixture of water and bicarbonate of soda and salt before frying it gives you the consistency of soft tofu (but without the mess), and I think that’s what most restaurants do too – use soaked hard tofu not soft tofu. It’s super simple and delicious, but you need to fry it, it doesn’t work baked.
3 cups hard tofu, cut into cubes, about 2.5cm (1in)
For the soaking:
4 cups water (approx.)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the frying:
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
.Place the tofu in a bowl, add enough water to cover the tofu, stir in 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda and 1 tsp of salt. Let it soak for 8 hours. Drain the tofu.
.Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the tofu and toss well (you can work in batches).
.Heat the vegetable oil and shallow-fry or deep-fry the coated tofu. Drain it in a colander or paper towel and serve immediately.