Salt & Pepper Tofu and Unplanned Meanderings on Existence
I woke this morning feeling so tired but quite chirpy. I want to start the week well. It could be that spring is coming and I can feel it in my bones, and see it in the sky. Maybe it is the lovely weekend that I just spent in Lapland, the people I met, and the huskies, reindeer and general gorgeousness. Lately, I am increasingly aware of time, how precious it is, and how much I want to do. Our lives are in our hands, right? It sounds so simple, but like all simple things, it can be difficult to realise and implement.
The last 18 months have presented many challenges and I have felt overwhelmed and swept away at times. My Dad passing away, of course, this takes time to absorb and heal. The mammoth project that Project: Bacon turned out to be (my bacon opus is nearly there now, I am very pleased to reveal), and my responsibilities to my wonderful backers has been a huge part of this. I feel each disappointment keenly as they wait and I am further delayed. Life can kick and tease but it can also take your hand and dance with you. I want to do more dancing, and in colour.
Food and travel continue to be the core of my existence. My travels inspire me, bring me joy and educate me about the world and its possibilities. I feel so lucky that I have managed to make a life that I have always dreamed of. Food and cooking bring me joy and comfort. The keen sharp spike of pleasure when I make something new and all consuming continues to drive me to explore more. I love it. But, I am tired of my tiny shabby London kitchen. I want more. I feel a change coming. I will need to work hard to make it happen, but the best things never come easy.
This recipe has been one that I have made many times recently. It is ridiculously easy and takes only minutes too. The salt and pepper crisp jacket encases a custard rich slice of smooth tofu. I love tofu. Many hate it, because they have only had lame coarse tasteless stuff, but good tofu is wonderful, especially when combined with stronger flavours and contrasting textures. I try to get mine in Asian food stores which usually stock the best, but I have found decent stuff in the supermarket too.
This dish is a cosy snack for an inbetween day. It is also gorgeous with noodles and greens for a complete meal. I have made long narrow ones and used them as soldiers for my eggs too! It takes only minutes and should open your eyes to the possibilities and luxurious texture of tofu. I like this best with silken tofu, but it is excellent with firm tofu also (the photo is with firm tofu, as it happens).
Recipe: Salt & Pepper Tofu
Serves 2 as a snack
250g tofu, silken if possible but firm is fine too
6 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tsp sea salt
light oil for frying like groundnut or rapeseed oil
Cut the tofu into approx one inch squares, or slices if using silken (I buy one shaped like a tube and slice that into one cm slices). If using silken, you will need to be a little more delicate.
Toast the black peppercorns in a dry frying pan over a medium heat to bring out the oils and flavour. Grind with the salt in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Add to the flour and mix well. Put in a in a large shallow bowl or plate and add the tofu, turning gently to ensure that it is evenly and completely coated.
In a large high sided frying pan or pot pour an inch or so of oil. Heat to 180 deg C (use a thermometer or approximate by adding a small piece of tofu coated in flour, when it sizzles immediately it is ready). Add the tofu in a single layer, ensuring they aren’t crowded (fry them in batches if you need to). Turn them occasionally and remove to a kitchen paper lined plate when golden and crisp.
Serve hot & enjoy. I love these!
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