If you are in search of a delectable stir fry, you needn’t look any further: this black pepper stir fry is definitely the one!
Black pepper is something I use in just about everything, but whereas it usually isn’t but an extra (though an important one at that), in this dish it justifiedly takes a leading role. Usually we have this stir fry with these truly heavenly seitan-based balls in sesame oil from Vantastic Foods, but this time I decided to use marinated tofu instead. It was worth every single minute of extra work (which was, all in all, not that significant). Preparing tofu seems something new or non-veg(etari)ans often struggle with, as they do not know how to transform a bland block of admittedly tasteless tofu into something awesome. The trick usually (although not necessarily) involves marinade, and that is not any different here. The tofu mantra goes like this: press – marinate – fry. Simple as that. So if you’re a novice in this area, try your hands on the recipe below, and next thing you know, you’ll be a totally tofu convert and see a world of infinite possibilities opening up.
If you like things hot, be very generous with the amount of black pepper you add; if you have young children, though, like I have, first spoon out their portions, before adding the full load of spiciness. At least that’s what I’d recommend if you want them to appreciate this meal as much as you no doubt will.
black pepper stir fry with marinated tofu
- ca. 400 g plain firm tofu
- 1 TB rice vinegar
- 4 TB soy sauce
- 1 TB vegan (!) mushroom ‘oyster’ sauce (I used this) – if you don’t have this, just leave it out, the marinade will still be superb.
- 2 TB sesame oil
- 1 TB agave syrup
- 1,5 TB thinly sliced ginger
- 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves
- some black pepper
- coconut oil and 3 TB of cornstarch for the frying process
- coconut oil for frying
- 2 large carrots
- 1/2 zucchini
- about 10 ears of baby corn
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- a large handful of broccoli florets
- 1 – 1,5 TB freshly cracked black pepper corns (I use mortar and pestle here)
- 3 TB soy sauce
- 1 TB sesame oil
- 1 TB agave syrup
- 2-3 TB cornstarch dissolved in 6-8 TB of water
- sesame seeds and sliced scallions for garnish
- Remove the tofu from the package, wrap in a clean kitchen towel, place a small cutting board on top and some items with a significant weight (like a carton of soy milk or a can of kidney beans, or whatever you come across in your kitchen). Press the tofu for at least half an hour, remove from the towel (which now should be soaked), and cut in small cubes (or triangles, or whatever shape you like :-)). Transfer the cubes to an airtight container.
- Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and pour over the tofu.
- Let sit for at least half a day, preferably overnight.
- Remove the tofu from the container, and keep the excess marinade, as you’ll need it for the stir fry sauce.
- Heat some coconut oil in a skillet for stir frying and add the drained tofu cubes. Sprinkle 3 TB of cornstarch over the cubes and make sure they get evenly coated. Stir fry until nicely browned and a bit crisp. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Heat some more coconut oil and add the carrots, thereafter the softer vegetables, one by one. Pour the leftover marinade over the vegetables and add the remaining ingredients for the stir fry. Make sure not to stir fry the vegetables too long; they should still have a bite when served. So when the vegetables are fork-tender, again add the tofu to the stir fry, and make sure it get’s nicely coated with the stir fry sauce.
- Serve over rice, and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds.