Table Recipes: Deep-Fried Tofu with Sichuan Pepper and Salt

By franco on 2 June, 2008

Deep-Fried Tofu with Sichuan Pepper and Salt

Among the many Chinese dishes I love, this would probably be the one I love the most.

Since I’ve been working on improving my Asian cooking techniques, I decided to start simple. Kylie Kwong has a way of making Chinese cuisine accessible to those of us learning unique ins and outs of this ancient culinary art. Personally, I couldn’t ask for a better tutor to help me bring some Sichuan goodness into my kitchen. I did however add some panko breadcrumbs to the mix (the orginal recipe only called a light coating of flour). The reason? I simply enjoy the extra crunch.

This tofu dish is simplicity at its tastiest. With every bite, the crispy, golden brown exterior gives way to the soft silkiness of the tofu within. With a sprinkle of salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon and dip in some black vinegar, my taste buds are good-to-go.

Deep-Fried Tofu with Sichuan Pepper and Salt

Adapted from Simple Chinese Cooking by Kylie Kwong

  • 1 x 300 gram pack silken tofu
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, scrambled for egg wash
  • Handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 lemon in quarters

Remove the silken tofu the container. Slices the tofu into six 1-inch cubes. Drain off excess moisture.

Heat oil in a hot wok until surface seems to shimmer. Lightly coat the tofu in flour. Then cover the tofu in egg wash. And lastly, coat with panko breadcrumbs. Using a spatula, slow lower each piece into the hot oil.*

Deep fry tofu until light golden brown and crispy. Gently remove with a slotted spoon and drain away access oil.

Arrange the fried tofu on a serving platter. Sprinkle with ground Sichuan pepper and sea salt. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with lemon quarters.

* Begin coating tofu when the vegetable oil is at proper frying temperature. The breadcrumb coat tends to get soggy if left standing.

serves 2-3

My personal choice for an accompanying sauce would be some Chinese black vinegar. But A. enjoys this dish with a sweeter Japanese Tonkatsu sauce. Enjoy.




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  • JUNE 3, 2008 1:33 AM

    Therese said...

    Hi Franco! This looks yummy. What exactly is and where do you buy Sichuan pepper?

  • JUNE 3, 2008 1:41 AM

    mtan said...

    Sichuan red/pink peppercorns! They're available at Spices, the spice shop in Market market, and Santi's too I think. Funny how they were banned from the US for sometime. Never understood why they got on the no fly list.

    I love tofu in all sorts of ways, deep frying is always one of the best to get a clean taste of the tofu-ness, except I'm a klutz at it and will end up with oil all over the kitchen and me, so I have my fix at the japanese restaurants instead. Hmmm, maybe I can sneak in a sichuan/salt mix in with me next time I order this dish.

  • JUNE 3, 2008 3:48 AM

    Sakai said...

    how i wish u could get to try the tofu dish i had in china.. see my post for details

  • JUNE 4, 2008 7:29 AM

    Franco said...

    Hi Therese. I think Mila answered the question well enough. Thanks Mila. :)
    And yes, they turned out fairly well after a couple of attempts. :)

    Hi Mila. I love this dish too. That's why I couldn't resist trying it out. Really, it just requires a steady hand to deal with the delicate tofu.

    Hi Sakai. Checked it out. Looks amazing. :)