on my plate: black pepper tofu


THIS was the deal: I provide two home cooked dinners, one pizza supper in Rome and the cleaning of one bathroom, in exchange for one absolutely gorgeous, pure wool chunky-knit jumper, from Aquascutum. My heart just skipped a beat typing the word ‘Aquascutum’.Fair deal in my opinion considering I will enjoy / benefit from all of the above. (Excluding the bathroom bit, but luckily it’s a very small bathroom.)

So, this week’s ‘on my plate’ is home cooked dinner number one. Following a long weekend of over indulgence in Rome – of which I will tell you all about in a forthcoming post – both my mum (aforementioned deal maker) and I were in the mood for a change of scene when it came to food. In amongst my stash of ‘recipes to try’ I found the perfect solution: Yotam Ottolenghi’s black pepper tofu. Conveniently we had a tub of the good quality fresh tofu that Ottolenghi calls for already sitting in the fridge.And what a delightful feast it made.

Following a day of delirium at work due to exhaustion from said weekend in Rome I muddled my way through the initial stages of cooking. I will admit that juggling the making of the rice (which I always seem to find stressful), the fine slicing of the ingredients and the frying of the tofu (spewing cornflour along the way) was a struggle; but I emerged from the chaos serenely happy as the meal came together and I could see that all would be good.

The flavours dazzled in this dish. Fiery chilli combined with distinctive peppery notes; lightly caramelised shallots balanced salty depths of various soy sauces; pungent garlic complimented tangy, aromatic ginger. And all of these tastes enveloped succulent chunks of tofu with crunchy spring onion.

I served this on a bed of jasmine rice, to which I had added half a teaspoon of Chinese 5 spice; the touch of cinnamon within this mix came through subtly but with effect, enhancing the sweet and sour aspect of the tofu and its sauce.

Steamed choi sum topped with toasted sesame seeds was presented on the side. And the final accompaniment was a pot of jasmine tea. It was a delicious simple supper that awoke me (and my senses) from my daze, and which I will no doubt make again.


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