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Sticky Sichuan Tofu

Sticky Sichuan Tofu
Sticky Sichuan Tofu

Firm tofu, when prepared and cooked properly, is an ingredient that can delight time and time again. Most people just don’t know how to cook it properly. In this recipe, we use cornflour to give the tofu a tremendous crunchy texture. The Sichuan sauce is really authentic – sticky, sweet and spicy, exactly like the Sichuan sauce you’d expect to get in a Chinese restaurant. Served with jasmine rice, sesame seeds and a sprinkling of spring onions, this might be the perfect at-home takeaway meal!

Ingredients
Method

Before you start

Preheat the oven to 220°C • Line a baking tray • Frying pan • Pestle and mortar • Microplane or fine grater • Small frying pan

Ingredients

For the tofu

  • 2 x 280g blocks firm tofu 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 tbsp cornflour
  • bunch of spring onions
  • 2 x 250g pouches pre-cooked
  • jasmine rice 2 limes
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds salt and black pepper

For the sauce

  • 1 1⁄2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns (or normal peppercorns if you can’t find them)
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar or lime juice

Method

  1. 1.

    Prepare the tofu • Cut the tofu into 2cm cubes • Put the soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a bowl and mix • Tip the cornflour into a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper • Add the tofu chunks to the soy mixture and toss, then dip and roll in the cornflour to coat the pieces • Spread out on the lined baking tray • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes • Chop all but one of the spring onions into 3cm lengths • When the tofu has been cooking for 5 minutes, take the tray out of the oven and arrange the spring onions around the tofu • Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil • Return to the oven to cook for the remaining 10 minutes, until the tofu is crisp and the spring onions are softened.

    Make the sauce • Set the frying pan over a high heat • Tip the peppercorns and chilli flakes into the hot pan and toast for 1 minute, then transfer to a pestle and mortar and crush well • Reduce the heat to medium and add the oil • Peel the garlic • Tip the spices back into the pan • Grate the garlic and ginger directly into the pan • Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and bubble over a medium heat until glossy

    Prepare the rice • Cook the rice according to the packet instructions and tip it into a bowl • Halve the limes and squeeze the juice of one into the rice • Season well • Slice the other lime into wedges • Slice the final spring onion

    Toast the sesame seeds • Put the small frying pan over a medium- high heat • Add the sesame seeds and toast them until golden • Take off the heat and set aside

    To finish • Take the tray out of the oven • Set aside the spring onions and tip the crispy tofu into the sauce pan • Stir to coat