Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu is a Chinese dish of lightly battered soft tofu that is deep fried until golden brown, seasoned with salt, chillies and pepper.
I tried so many tofu dishes and it just keeps getting better and better, I thought I found the best ones before, but I was wrong. Fish and tofu, braised tofu and steamed tofu with ground pork are some examples that I thought those were the ones until I tried this Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu when we ordered it at Café BBQ Duck near Chancery square. It was honest to goodness amazing! A+++, it was seasoned really well, with the right spice and saltiness but what’s even better is how crisp the outer layer is, I am not talking about crunchy crisp like your Southern Style fried chicken, this was on a different level, it is crispy but once you put one in your mouth the crispiness dissolves in your mouth like with a similar effect to that top of Mexican Coffee Bun, then as it melts the soft warm silky tofu comes next and that combination of textures and flavours is just a full of joy in your palate.
I was so amazed on how this tofu came out to be, so I asked the server how they made it, which without hesitation told us. Since then I planned to make it at home and today was the day, this was the result, I amended the recipe a bit by adding tapioca starch, but it was as equally amazing. Trust me, if you try tofu like this, you won’t make tofu like you did before.
In a pan lightly toast Sichuan peppercorn and red chillies. Remove from the pan, let it cool then combine and mix together with ground black pepper and salt. Set aside
In a wide plate combine cornstarch, tapioca starch and ground white pepper.
Cut the tofu into small cubes, pat try each piece with a paper towel, dip one piece at a time the tofu blocks into the cornstarch mixture. Push aside the ones that are coated into a location on the plate with cornstarch, cornstarch will absorb the liquid in the tofu, so you have to do this quick otherwise the coating will be thicker and will tend to fall off. Do it with the rest.
Heat enough oil for deep frying in a wok, temperature should be 180C.
Deep fry tofu pieces by gently submerging piece by piece into the wok with hot oil then cook until pale golden in colour.
Remove from wok using a slotted spoon, drain excess oil then place in a serving platter. Drizzle some toasted Sichuan peppercorn and salt mixture on top then garnish with sliced spring onions. Serve.