Black Pepper Tofu Pot 6.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian Dec 4, 2013

A heap of black pepper gives this dish a warming, earthy flavor reminiscent of mushrooms or even steak.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings

  • 1 bunch scallions, root ends trimmed
  • Flour, for coating
  • Vegetable oil, for the pan
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 28 ounces firm tofu, drained and patted dry, then cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 inch peeled fresh ginger root, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 4 to 6 cups warm cooked brown rice, for serving


Cut the scallions (white and green parts) into 2-inch lengths, then slice them lengthwise into matchsticks. Keep the white and green parts separate.

Pour the flour into a shallow bowl. Line a plate with paper towels and set it near the stove. Pour vegetable oil to a depth of 1/4 inch into a large skillet set over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, and just before frying, add the sesame oil to the skillet.

Working in batches, lightly dust the tofu cubes in the flour, tossing to coat and shaking off any excess. Use a slotted spoon to add the tofu to the hot oil, making sure that none of the pieces touch. Fry until the tofu cubes are golden and have a thin crust on most sides, turning them as needed, about 8 minutes. Lift the tofu out of the oil with the slotted spoon, letting the oil drip back into the pan, and transfer to the paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat until all of the tofu cubes are fried, coating the tofu in the flour as you go and adding oil to the pan as needed.

Wipe out the skillet and return it to medium heat. Add the butter; once it has melted, add the shallots, jalapeño, garlic and ginger, stirring to combine. Cook for a few minutes, then add the white parts of the scallions and continue cooking until the vegetables are fragrant and soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, sugar (to taste) and pepper; turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.

Immediately before serving, add the tofu and the green parts of the scallions to the sauce; toss to coat evenly.

Divide the rice among individual deep bowls, spoon the tofu and sauce over the rice, and serve.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite," by Sarah Copeland (Chronicle Books, 2013).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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