Deep-fried salt and pepper tofu

Deep-fried salt and pepper tofu

Have You Eaten
Billy Law

I can understand why many people think tofu is bland and boring. But it is actually extremely versatile and lends itself well to a variety of flavours and cooking techniques. I prefer soft silken tofu, but it needs to be handled with care as it is very delicate and crumbles easily. This recipe is all about textures — the soft, silky smooth tofu on the inside and the salty and peppery crispy coating on the outside. I guarantee you'll never look at tofu the same way again.


Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
vegetable oil, for deep-frying, plus 2 tablespoons extra
125g cornflour
1 block silken firm tofu, cut into 6 pieces
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bird’s eye chilli, seeded and thinly sliced
1 spring onion, chopped, green part only


  1. Combine the salt, sugar, white pepper and five-spice together in a bowl, then set aside.
  2. Pour the vegetable oil into a medium saucepan until about one-third full, then heat the oil to 180°C over medium–high heat. Test to see if the oil is hot enough by dipping a wooden chopstick in the oil — if the oil starts steadily bubbling around the chopstick, it’s ready.
  3. Put the cornflour in a bowl and add the tofu. Gently turn the tofu to coat in the cornflour, then shake off any excess flour. Deep-fry the tofu for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.
  4. Heat the extra 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a wok over high heat, then add the garlic, chilli and spring onion and stir-fry for 1 minute until fragrant.
  5. While the tofu pieces are still hot, place them in a large metal bowl with 1 teaspoon of the salt and pepper mixture, and toss them in the mixture until nicely coated. Transfer the tofu to a serving plate, then sprinkle with the fried garlic and chilli, and serve the remaining salt and pepper mixture on the side.
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