Spice up crispy tofu with a fiery chilli sauce. Serve alongside egg-fried rice for a quick vegetarian stir-fry that is packed full of flavour.
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for shallow frying
- 500g/1lb 2oz firm tofu, drained, patted dry with kitchen paper, cut into 1.5cm/½in cubes
- 4 tbsp cornflour
- 2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
- 75g/3oz cashew nuts
For the chilli sauce
- 150ml/5fl oz rice wine vinegar
- 150g/5oz caster sugar
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 red chillies, finely diced
- 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 10cm/4in piece fresh root ginger, peeled, finely grated
- 2 carrots, peeled, julienned
For the egg-fried rice
- 2 tbsp groundnut oil
- 2 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 200g/7oz freshly cooked basmati rice, cooled
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 spring onions, finely sliced
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
Mix the tofu with two tablespoons of vegetable oil.
To make the tofu, pour the vegetable oil into a deep heavy-based frying pan until it is 3cm/1in in depth. Heat over a medium heat.
Mix the flour and crushed peppercorns together in a bowl. Dredge the tofu in the flour, shake off any excess, then carefully lower the coated tofu into the hot oil and cook the tofu for 1–2 minutes, or until crisp. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. (You may need to do this in batches.)
Fry the cashew nuts in the hot oil for 1 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.
For the chilli sauce, heat the vinegar, sugar and soy sauce in a non-reactive frying pan until the mixture comes to the boil. Add the chillies, chilli flakes and ginger and cook for a further 2 minutes, or until the volume of the liquid had reduced.
Add the fried tofu, fried cashew nuts and carrots to the pan, stir well and cook for 2 minutes, or until the carrots have softened.
To make the egg-fried rice, beat together the eggs and sesame oil in a bowl and add to the wok. Allow to set a little and move around the pan to scramble. Remove from the pan, add a little more oil and stir-fry the rice for 3 minutes, or until the rice is completely warmed through. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper then stir through the egg, spring onions and coriander.
To serve, spoon the egg-fried rice onto four serving plates and top with a spoonful of chilli-fried tofu.