For those of you who follow this blog, you know how much I love spicy food. And if you’re a lover of spiciness, this hot pepper tofu will work well for you too. I've simplified the traditional black pepper tofu which calls for 1 stick of butter and 3 types of soy sauce, these items are just not in my kitchen essentials. I can't even imagine eating/using a whole stick of butter these days, vegan or not! It's simply not an option for me anymore and I would be so sick to my stomach if I did. Lol But not to worry my pepper lovers, this simple and healthy version is so flavorful that you won't miss a thing. Feel free to change up any of the ingredients using some of the suggestions in the notes or making it your own using whatever ingredients you have on hand (like I did). I've really tried taking into account all the different levels of eating habits creating a version for almost everyone. You'll find various things on most of the ingredient lines reflecting this, and in the notes too. The thing I love about this recipe is that it's pretty much fool proof. The only thing you may end up doing is adding too much pepper/heat for your taste, those of you who are more sensitive should stick to using the lesser amounts called for and go up from there.
I love using this high protein tofu. It holds up really well. Another benefit from using this is that it doesn't need to be pressed. It's so dense that not much water is absorbed making it one less step in preparing your tofu recipes. I've used this one from Trader Joe's pictured above and a few various ones from Wildwood that also do not need to be pressed. Both tofu brands, firm and extra firm, are very versatile and can go from being used in salads to skewered for grilling. And remember, TOFU is one of those foods that should be eaten in moderation, it has many health benefits but is not for everyone.
Hot Pepper Tofu
- 1 block (14-16oz.) organic tofu (firm or extra firm), cubed
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame, sesame or grapeseed oil
- 1/4 cup tamari, soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup water or veggie broth
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup or liquid sweetner of choice
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot or tapioca flour (cornstarch is fine too)
- 1 - 2 tablespoons fresh cracked pepper
- 3 - 4 cloves garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 inch knob ginger, minced
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped
- 1 - 2 chili's peppers, sliced and seeds removed or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped, to serve
If not using one of the tofu's mentioned above, you'll want to drain and press your tofu to remove excess water. Simply cut tofu into slabs and place between paper towels or a clean dish cloth. With wrapped tofu laying on a flat surface, place a heavy book/object on top for about 15 minutes or so. Here's a great tutorial from Olives for Dinner: How to press tofu perfectly in six steps
In a small/medium bowl, combine the tamari, water, sweetener and flour. This will be your slurry, ensuring your tofu will be coated nicely.
Heat oil in a large wok or skillet over medium high. Add tofu and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Your tofu will slighlty brown (we're not going to worry about it getting super brown and crispy here but if you want it browner and crispier, cook another 5 minutes or so stirring occasionally).
Add in your slurry mixture, ground pepper, garlic and ginger. It will sizzle at first when adding the liquids. Stir fry another 3 minutes or so, add in hot peppers and scallions. Liquids should start to thicken a bit, cook another 5 minutes or until the scallions are just softened.
Serve with brown rice, brown rice/quinoa mix, basmati or jasmine rice. Soba noodles would be great too. Add a large handful of chopped cilantro on the side, it will add to the flavors while giving a nice dose of freshness to the pepperiness. If you love cilantro, you will truly appreciate it here!
Add more or less of any ingredient to suit your taste. You can also sub in mild chili peppers or sliced jalapeno peppers with the seeds removed.
For the scallions, you'll notice that I cut the darker green parts into 1 inch sections while slicing the white and light green parts into 1/4 inch pieces. Just a thought if you'd like to do the same.
Feel free to use 2 tablespoons pure cane sugar, raw sugar or cocout sugar in place of the liquid sweetener.