Chinese Salt and Pepper Tofu recipe – silky tofu with a crispy coating, tossed in a flavourful salt and pepper seasonings and crisp vegetables. One of the most popular Chinese takeaway tofu recipes that everyone loves. Learn how to make it at home with our quick and easy recipe!
What is your favourite tofu dish? Takeaway salt and chilli tofu is one of my favourite tofu dish and never had enough of it! I tried making it at home and becomes our family’s favourite. As my little one loves tofu we make mild tofu dish without chilli fakes for him. You can omit chillies if you are making kid-friendly or milder version.
I love tofu dishes as they are very light and nutritious and perfect for the days that you don’t want to have meaty meals. If you are love tofu dishes you will definitely love our Spicy Tofu Stir Fry recipe too.
What are your favourite appetizers to serve at your party? Following are our viewer friends’ approved appetizer recipes that you might like. They are all incredibly easy to make and you need to use the same Chinese five spices and pepper powder mix in these dishes.
- Crispy Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings
- Salt and Pepper Prawns
- Chinese Salt and Pepper Chips
- Crispy Salt and Pepper Beef
How to make it
Firm or extra firm tofu is ideal to make crispy fried tofu.
Tips: drain the water out from the tofu packaging and pat dry the tofu block with paper towels and gently press it to remove the excess moisture.
Coating : To achieve the super crispy coating texture, simply coat the tofu cubes with corn starch or potato starch. Dredge and toss the tofu cubes with generous amount of corn starch and toss the excess flour out before frying.
What is tofu made of?
Tofu is made from fermented bean curd and rich in iron, calcium, and amino acids. Originated in China and one of the staple ingredients in Chinese and Oriental cuisines. There are two different types of tofu, firm tofu and soft tofu. It can be cook on its own and make it fried tofu or add in stir-fries, soups, and curries. A great source of plant-based protein and loved by vegetarians and vegans.
Peppers, onions, fresh chilies and spring onions are ideal for this recipe. Add dry crushed chillies flakes for a kick of spicy flavour.
Seasoning Spice Mix
To create a simple Chinese salt and pepper powder mix, you will need fine salt, white pepper powder, and Chinese five spices powder as a base. Add a bit of chicken powder if you want to taste exactly like your favourite takeout crispy tofu. Dashi vegetarian seasoning powder, sugar, or msg can be added if you do not have the chicken powder in hand. But these are optional if you prefer to make it with a base seasoning mix, it’s perfectly fine.
You can make this seasoning mix in a big batch and store it in an air-tight jar. You can sprinkle it over your deep-fried dishes and stir fry dishes for Chinese taste and flavour.
Chinese five spices – It is a combination of cinnamon, star anise, cloves, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds and has a unique warm, sweet, toasty, flavour. It is the key spice that brings the dish super flavouful.
Sichuan Salt and Chilli Tofu – to make it a Sichuan style salt and chilli tofu, you can add crushed Sichuan peppercorns and dry chilli pepper flakes in the seasoning powder mix.
How to air fry or bake tofu?
Deep-fried in oil creates the super crips coating. But if you wish you make a healthier version, you can bake or fry the tofu in air fryer. Spray the coated tofu cubes with cooking oil and bake or air fry it for 350°F( 177° C) for 8-10 minutes Or until the coating is crispy.
Best for deep frying: Neutral flavour oils are best for deep frying. Sunflower, peanut, canola, or vegetable oil.
How To Serve This Dish
You can simply serve with plain rice, Egg Fried Rice Or Noodles. Or pair it with other Asian dishes and make it a perfect family dinner.
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Salt and Pepper Tofu
- 300 g Tofu Firm or Extra firm tofu ( about 8.8 oz )
- ½ Onion ( Cut in slices ) Large sweet or white onion
- ½ Bell Pepper ( Cut in slices )
- 1 Red Chilli ( Cut in slices ) Optional
- 2 Cloves Garlic ( Fine chopped )
- ½ tsp Crushed chilli flakes Optional
- 1 cup Corn starch ( or potato starch )
Seasoning Powder Mix
- ½ tsp Salt ( Use fine salt )
- ½ tsp White pepper powder ( Or black pepper powder )
- ½ tsp Chinese five spices powder ( See detials in note )
- ½ tsp Chicken Powder Optional ( see details in note )
- Add salt, white pepper powder, Chinese five spices powder and chicken powder in a small mixing bowl. Mix it well and set aside.
- Prepare all the vegetables buy cut the onions, peppers, spring onion and chilli into thin slices. Finely chop the garlic and set aside.
- Drain the water out from the tofu packet, place the tofu block on the few layers of paper towel. Cover with more paper towel and gently press and pat dry it.
- Cut the tofu into half inch cubes. Dredge and coat the tofu cubes in the corn starch and toss the excess flour out before frying.
- To deep fry the tofu cubes, fill the frying pan with vegetable oil over 1". Heat the oil to high heat about 350° F and fry until each side of coating are crispy for 5-6 minutes.
- Remove from oil and transfer to paper towel and set aside.
- In a large wok or pan, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onion slices and stir for few seconds and follow with the chopped garlic.
- Stir for few seconds and add bell pepper, chilli slices and crush chilli flakes. Place the fried tofu cubes back in, sprinkle the seasoning powder mix. Toss all ingredients evenly for 1-2 minutes.
- Add sliced spring onions and mix well.
- Remove from heat and transfer to serving plate. Serve immediately.
- Tofu – Use firm tofu as soft tofu can breaks easily when you deep fry and tossed again with spices. Important to pat dry the tofu with paper towels to remove the excess water in the tofu.
- Chinese Five Spices Powder – is a powder mixture of cinnamon, star anise, cloves, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel. You can find it in most Chinese/Oriental grocery stores or Amazon online.
- Chicken Powder – is an optional ingredient. You can add chicken powder if you want to taste your chips like your favourite takeaway shop. Vegetarian seasoning powder, msg, fine caster sugar, or dashi powder can be substituted.
- White Pepper – Recommend to use white pepper powder to taste like authentic Chinese flavour but if you don’t have white pepper in hand, substitute with black pepper powder.
- Servings – You can serve up to 4 persons as a side dish or appetizer and serve 2 persons as a main meal.