Black Pepper Tofu Bites

I have been going back to my older recipes lately and realizing how much I love them. I am regularly writing and creating new recipes and forget the oldies that make me and my family so happy. The original recipe idea (and the title) came from Ottolenghi’s book Plenty, and then Deb Permaman of Smitten Kitchen reminded me about it in her post a few weeks back. I love being inspired by so many great chefs and home cooks. I have taken the original recipe and made it a little more do-able, in my humble opinion, without losing the incredible creativity, the base of flavours and complexity. 

Try making a side of soba noodles with it. They will soak up all the pan juices from the tofu, making for a perfect dinner. Cut the tofu in large cubes so that the centre stays pillowy and soft while the outside gets crispy and delicious. I have made this exact recipe with scallops or shrimp, always delicious. I haven’t done so, but I’m sure chicken strips would be fabulous too. This dish makes for a fun pass around appetizer too, serve the bites skewed with a toothpick at your next cocktail party. 

Without too much ado, here is the recipe.

Black Pepper Tofu Bites

Servings 4


  • 1 package about 450g of firm or extra firm tofu I like the Wildwood Organics Sprout Tofu
  • About ⅔ cup About ⅔ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar or dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp low sodium tamari
  • tbsp mirin
  • 2 small green onion chopped in small rounds
  • 1 long red chili chopped in small rounds (or a bird chili)
  • tsp freshly ground black pepper


  • Cut the tofu into large cubes (about 1-inch), about 32 cubes per box.  Lay the cubes on a paper towel and let them dry a bit.  
  • Toss them in the cornstarch, shaking off excess.
  • Heat a large fry pan.  Add the oil.  Heat until the oil is shimmering.  Add about half the tofu to the pan.  Let it cooked undisturbed until the first side is golden brown, flip, brown a second side, repeat until most sides are brown.  
  • Remove from pan to a plate and repeat with the second batch, remove.
  • Add garlic and ginger to the pan and cook until fragrant, less than one minute.  S
  • prinkle brown sugar into the pan, toss quickly for 30 seconds or so.
  • Add the tamari and mirin, allow to bubble and reduce for a minute.  
  • Add back the tofu cubes back to the pan and carefully toss with liquid in the pan.  
  • Shut the heat off and continue tossing until well coated.  
  • Sprinkle with green onion, chilies and pepper.Serve immediately for best results.