Black Pepper Tofu with Jasmine Rice

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My parents were vegetarian and didn’t pander to the demands of a stroppy child, I ate what they ate. I think I felt fairly ripped off at the time when I heard peers discussing the merits of sausages, steaks, bacon, etc. I kept my dirty little secret to myself, back then even as a bashful 6 year old I knew vegetarianism was a bit ‘different’ and being ‘normal’ was important.

Mum’s a good cook and could work wonders with whatever was kicking about. Dad was good too but he became infamous for his signature dish which my siblings and I cruelly dubbed “prison soup”. There wasn’t much of a range in vegetarian food back in the 80’s. You could get packets of Veggie Burger mix which you added water to and fried, they had a spongy texture and didn’t taste of much and I can remember thinking that if this is what burgers are meant to taste like you can keep them.

These days the range of vegetarian products is fairly comprehensive and I’ve converted many a sceptical carnivore to the joys of a good veggie burger or pie, even if they don’t care to admit it. One product that still divides many vegetarians let alone carnivores is tofu. Tofu hasn’t received much of a PR job and has a reputation for having a lack of flavour and disagreeable texture.

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But it’s got many virtues; it’s cheap, healthy and will quite happily linger in your fridge for a few months whilst all around it goes mouldy. In the right hands it’s delicious, those hands are usually the chef at our local Chinese takeaway and after nagging and pleading and several prawn crackers he took me into the kitchen and showed me how to make his favourite Tofu dish – Black Pepper Tofu with Rice and Broccoli in Oyster Sauce. I’ve since made it at home and it’s a total tofu game changer.

Black Pepper Tofu with Jasmine Rice

Serves four.

500g macro hard tofu

Cornflour for coating

Vegetable oil for frying

2 brown onions thinly sliced

2 red chillies thinly sliced (optional)

4 garlic cloves crushed

1 thumb sized piece of chopped ginger

5 tbsp crushed black peppercorns

8 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp sugar

1 bunch of spring onions cut into slithers

Coriander to garnish

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Cut the tofu into 2cm cubes and toss them in cornflour, salt and pepper. Half fill a large pan or wok with oil (or use a deep fat fryer) and heat it to 180C, or until a small piece of bread browns in 15 seconds. Fry the tofu in batches in the oil, once they are golden remove and dry on some kitchen towel.

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In a clean frying pan heat some oil and add the brown onion, chillies, garlic and ginger and cook over a low-medium heat until soft and sweet. Crush the peppercorns and add to the pan along with the soy sauce and sugar. Warm the tofu in the sauce, add the spring onion and stir through. Serve with steamed Jasmine rice and garnish with coriander.

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It’s been great to see the increased range in vegetarian foods that are available to Australians, even in the six years I’ve been ‘Down Under’ it’s grown massively. The next time you find yourself pushing your trolley down the vegetarian aisle have a closer look at some of the products on offer and see whether you can convert any of the sceptics in your house or perhaps yourself.

The vegetarian macro range, available in Woolworths includes over 30 products and having worked my way through most of them I’m a total convert.

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  • Sue McMurtrie

    Sounds yummy…would it also work for beef strips? Hubby is not adventurous and I’d like to try, but only have to prepare ‘one’ meal?

    • daddownunder

      Definitely Sue, beef and black pepper are best pals.

  • http://lifeloveandhiccups.blogspot.com Sonia@ LIfe Love and Hiccups

    So nice to see you pop up in y feed again Matt :) And this looks like a dish my tofu loving family would love to try~ so when are you coming to make it? Hope all is well with you and the family hun xx

  • http://www.havealaughonme.com/ Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me

    This looks delish, will flick over to my sister, she loves a bit of Tofu, I don’t mind it but I know the kiddies and hubby would not be over themoon!

  • http://www.nannyshecando.com Hope

    I’m a veggo so I’m always going to partial, but still, this looks delicious and you’d have me converted just by the picture! This looks delicious and like a must try. So great to see you pop up in my inbox again!

  • http://www.findingmyselfyoung.blogspot.com.au/ Toni

    I lived with a vegetarian when I first moved out of home and for the first 3 weeks we lived together I was forced to be a vegetarian until our other flatmate moved in and brought another set of pots and pans with him. I had to eat tofu everyday for 3 weeks and she never seasoned it with anything – it put me off eating it forever. I’m sure it tastes good seasoned but I just can’t bring myself to do it again.

  • christiechildhood101

    Who knew tofu could looks so good. It’s something I really must try with our family. We used to serve tofu as part of the lunch menu at the child care centre I ran and the children really enjoyed it – now to get my two fusspots to give it a go!

  • http://dadsthewayilikeit.wordpress.com/ Jonathan Ervine

    Looks like a great recipe. I know what you mean about tofu dividing opinion, even among vegetarians. I particularly like it when it’s crispy and in a spicy sauce.

  • http://www.ispyplumpie.com/ Liz @ I Spy Plum Pie

    Looks good to me! I actually don’t eat much tofu even though I’m vego, but I definitely love how versatile it is! In fact, I had something similar to this last night with a side of garlicy Asian greens, delish!

  • The Plumbette

    That dish looks so good! Not much of a tofu fan and I lve my meat but this recipe may convert me to try it. Just.

  • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

    GIVE ME THIS RIGHT NOW. (I’m warming to tofu. I’ve nailed some really delicious stuff lately, so I’m hating it less and less, haha). this looks amazing.

  • Aleney @ BoyEatsWorld

    Big tofu fans at Casa Eats World and this is right up our alley. It’s defiitely going on the to cook list!

  • http://mummygoesmad.blogspot.com.au/ Maria @ Mummy Goes Mad

    I’m pregnant and always hungry… This look amazing!