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Steamed then Seared Tofu with Fresh Chilli Oil Recipe




  • 500g silken tofu, sliced into 1cm thick pieces
  • 1tsp ground Sichuan pepper
  • 80ml peanut oil
  • small handful of coriander leaves
  • steamed jasmine rice, to serve
  • 100g cooked sweet potato flesh


  • 1tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2tbsp sliced spring onion
  • 2tbsp chopped coriander stems
  • 2tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2tbsp chinese black vinegar
  • 1½tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1tbsp sesame oil
  • ¼tsp chilli oil

Chilli oil

  • 1 large red chilli, roughly chopped, seeds and all
  • pinch of salt flakes
  • 2tbsp vegetable oil


1. To make the chilli oil, pound all the ingredients using a mortar and pestle to make a paste. Place in a fine sieve and press with the back of a spoon to extract the oil. Discard the solids.

2. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over medium heat. Lightly oil a bamboo steamer, add the tofu and cover with the lid. Set the steamer over the saucepan and steam for 8-10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile for the dressing mix all the ingredients together, stirring until well combined. Set aside.

4. Divide the steamed tofu among small bowls or deep plates. Pour over the dressing and sprinkle with 1/8 or ¼tsp of Sichuan pepper to serve, depending on how hot you like it.

5. In a very small saucepan heat the peanut oil over medium-high until smoking. Do not leave unattended – you have a very small window before it ignites. Carefully pour the smoking hot oil over the dressed tofu.

6. Garnish with coriander and serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Courtesy of Vegetables, Grains & Other Good Stuff by Simon Bryant (Penguin Lantern) Photography: Alan Benson


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