Salt and Pepper Tofu
1 lb silken medium tofu
cut into 1” cubes
1/2 cup rice flour
kosher salt
rice bran oil for deep-frying
1 tbsp rice bran oil
1 each small jalapeño
thinly sliced
2 each scallions
thinly sliced
3 each garlic cloves
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp Chinese five spice powder
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp black vinegar (Chinkiang)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
chili oil to taste
  • fry pot
  • fry oil
  • cooling rack
  • Fry basket
For the Tofu
Heat oil to 375F using a deep fryer or large pot. Setup your cubed tofu and bowl of rice flour close to your fry oil. Work quickly in small batches - once you coat the tofu with rice flour, begin frying as quickly as possible (it absorbs the flour quickly and will turn gummy if you wait even a few minutes). Once each batch of tofu is medium golden brown and crispy (about 3 - 5 minutes), remove to a paper towel-lined tray, lightly season with salt, and set aside.
For the Salt and Pepper Mix
Using a wok or sauté pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame until hot but not smoking. Add the jalapeño, scallions, and garlic. Stir-fry quickly for about 20 seconds, until slightly softened. Toss in the salt, sugar, and spices. Add the Shaoxing rice wine and cook for about 10 more seconds (be careful of flames), tossing constantly, until the liquid is mostly absorbed.
For the Dipping Sauce
Combine all ingredients and whisk until sugar has been dissolved.
To Serve
Place tofu on a warm platter and arrange the salt and pepper mix over the top. Serve with dipping sauce on the side (if using).