Ottolenghi seems to be all the rage at the moment. I think I missed the memo about how/why he become popular but this dish looks pretty so I put it as my request for Toby to make it and he did. He only used about half the black pepper and it was still too spicy. I wish we read Carla's review before because she discussed the same issue, so I suggest starting with 1 teaspoon of pepper and then adding more. He also didn't put in cornstarch or deep fry, instead choosing to do our regular stir fried tofu method and added some green beans. It was delicious and I think we will make it again but with less pepper.
Ottolenghi's Black Pepper Tofu from The Guardian
800gm firm tofu
Oil for frying
12 small shallots, sliced thickly
8 fresh red chillis
12 garlic cloves
3 tbsp fresh ginger
3 tbsp sweet soy
3 tbsp light soy
4 tbsp dark soy
2 tbsp caster sugar
5 tsp crushed black pepper (Caution-see note above)
16 spring onions, thinly sliced
Cut the tofu into 3cm x 2cm blocks and toss them in cornflour, shaking off the excess. Pour in enough oil to come 0.5cm up the sides of a large frying pan, and bring up to frying heat. Fry the tofu in batches in the oil, turning the pieces as you go. Once they are golden all around, and have a thin crust, transfer to a paper towel.
Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan and throw in the butter. Once it has melted, add the shallots, chillies, garlic and ginger, and sauté for about 15 minutes on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the contents of the pan are shiny and totally soft. While you wait, crush the peppercorns, using a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder. They should be quite coarse.
When the shallots and chillies are soft, add the soy sauces and the sugar, stir, then stir in the crushed pepper. Warm the tofu in the sauce for about a minute, then add the spring onion and stir through. Serve hot with steamed rice.