Black Pepper Tofu with Bok Choy

Crunchy tofu, succulent noodles and crisp bok choy make this quick weekday meal a tasty one.

  • Block of firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • corn starch for dredging ( optional)
  • 2 tablespoons wok oil (high heat oil like peanut, coconut or vegetable)
  • 5 finger pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked peppercorns
  • 1 fat shallot, sliced (or half a onion)
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 4 small bunches baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise (or if very thick, in half again)
  • serve with noodles or rice
Black Pepper Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese Cooking Wine (Shaoxing Rice Wine) or sub dry white wine, pale sherry or rice wine.
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar (or sub palm sugar, coconut sugar or agave)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste (optional)
  1. Press the tofu block for about 30 minutes prior to cooking then cut into cubes.
  2. Make the black pepper sauce, stirring ingredients together in a small bowl until most of the sugar dissolves. Place it by the stove.
  3. Prep the shallots, garlic and bok choy.
  4. Dredge the tofu in a light coating of cornstarch (cornstarch is optional, but provides a crispier texture).
  5. Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat and add the salt and crushed peppercorns to the oil, swirling it around until fragrant, about one minute.
  6. Add the tofu to the seasoned oil, and sear on all sides until golden and crispy, turning the heat down if need be. Be patient and take your time, it will take about 5-6 minutes.
  7. Set the crispy tofu aside on a paper towel-lined plate, and wipe the pan out.
  8. Heat another teaspoon or two of oil over medium heat, and add shallots, garlic and bok choy. Stir continuously until bok choy begins to wilt and shallots become golden, about 3-4 minutes. It will smell amazing.  Add the wok sauce to the pan, careful to get all the sugar that may have settled in the bowl.
  9. Simmer for a couple of minutes, or until bok choy is just tender.
  10. At the very very end, toss the tofu back into the pan with the bok choy and sauce (just long enough to coat, only 5-10 seconds!) Cooking any longer will remove the amazing crispiness! Taste for salt and heat, adjusting to your preference.
  11. Serve immediately, diving between two bowls and enjoy!


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