high pressure system.

It doesn't happen so so often around here, but sometimes when you're complaining/obsessing about some debatably minor thing suddenly The Great Magnet takes notice and basically says "Oh realllllllly. I'll give you something to cry about, how's this?" and turns up the shiny black knob labeled General Suck.

In situations like these I find that it's best to make food that that removes your ability to focus on anything else. I made Ottolenghi's Black Pepper Tofu yesterday and indeed this is the man for the job: 8 red chilies, 2 tbsp of black pepper.

Due to popular demand, I made it again tonight, and my new alterations revolve around turning this into something you can eat more than once a week, so: a lot less butter, and an affordable amount of coconut oil. This is now pretty solid, though I haven't cooked from my own recipe yet.


black pepper tofu.

400g firm tofu
fine cornmeal, to dust the tofu
peanut oil (or coconut oil if money is no object), for frying

75g coconut oil (roughly 4 tbsp, or more, or substitute with butter if you don't care about these things)
6 shallots or two small onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 to 8 fresh red Holland chillies, seeded, deveined, and thinly sliced
2 or 3 tbsp peeled, chopped fresh ginger, or 2 tbsp peeled, chopped fresh ginger and 1 tbsp peeled, chopped fresh turmeric
6 garlic cloves, crushed

anywhere from 2 tsp to 2 tbsp freshly crushed black peppercorns, I've done both versions, the 2 tsp version is edible by almost anyone, the 2 tbsp version requires a certain desire/tolerance for pain

2 tbsp ketjap manis
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar or maple syrup
1 tbsp butter
4 scallions, cut in some decorative fashion

Roll tofu blocks in cornmeal and fry in peanut or coconut oil 3 minutes per side. Remove, set aside, and wipe skillet.

Melt coconut oil in skillet over low heat. Saute chiles, ginger and shallots for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, you want your ginger to not taste raw anymore, this could take up to 15 minutes. Add garlic, stir to combine, and turn off heat, let sit for 5 minutes. Add soy sauces, sugar, butter, and black pepper, stir to combine. Add fried tofu and gently reheat, melting the butter in the process. When hot, add scallions and serve.

Serves 3 or 4 with rice.


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