Monday, May 9, 2016

Black Pepper Tofu - IHCC Featuring Yotam Ottolenghi

I joined I Heart Cooking Clubs when Yotam Ottolenghi was featured chef and even though I worked my way through several recipes, I didn't manage to get to his Black Pepper Tofu from the book Plenty. Since he's featured chef once again, at least for this month, I thought I would finally give it a try.
I had no great love for tofu but I experimented with it when one of my daughters became vegetarian. She had no great love for it either until one day I fried it, a game changer for us both. Baking replaced frying when I discovered this method that produces the same tender nuggets with crisp crust. I used that method here, without a marinade, and made a few modifications to the sauce in this dish as well, replacing the butter with just a few spoons of vegetable oil and using half the black peppercorns since the original recipe calls for more than a tablespoon per serving.

The first few bites were fantastic. The sticky sauce coating the crisp tofu was salty, sweet and caramel-y. And then the black pepper kicked in. Described as fiery in the headnotes, this dish was actually mouth-numbingly hot. I felt the level of heat totally overwhelmed all of the lovely flavours in it. Given how much promise it showed at the start and how much we like our baked tofu, I will make this again but I will totally wimp out and use even less pepper.

Visit here to see the other dishes from featured chef Yotam Ottolenghi.


  1. Zosia, this looks wonderful, your post too and I hope you had a wonderful Mother's day too ­čść

    1. Thank you Rosa, I did have a lovely Mother's Day.

  2. Looks really good! I love that you were honest about your tastebuds' reaction to all that heat! Spiciness is definitely a personal thing! I, too, usually have to back off on the spice ... particularly when it's hot curry spices. I'd probably have to cut back on the pepper in this dish too! Still ... what a great bowl of food!

  3. A friend of mine made this and said that the heat level was off the chart spicy. This dish surely works better with less pepper, confirmed from another source.

  4. I'm with you on the pepper factor. Will definitely try this, but with less heat!

  5. I've been wanting to try this recipe for a long time. I was very interested to read about your method for baking in lieu of frying. I'm with you on the pepper factor. I like my food fiery, but I also like to taste the other flavors. It does look yummy though:)

  6. Tofu needs a lot of treatment to make if flavorful. I am glad that you and your daughter enjoyed it. Do try the fish recipe when you get a chance, I think you will really like it.

  7. I know I'd love these sticky crispy tofu too!

  8. I am a black pepper fanatic Zosia but I think the amount called for would be way too much even for me! It looks delicious though and I love your tip for the baking the tofu too. ;-)

  9. Hi Zosia,
    I love black pepper and spicy dishes. Your tofu looks, as you said, caramel-y and delicious. I can see that this dish would be great as a part of a meal eaten with rice too!


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