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Black Pepper Tofu with Eggplant

A simple vegetarian weeknight stir fry
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 4
Author: Neil Perry


  • 2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 small Asian eggplants sliced thick
  • 250 g firm tofu diced into 2cm x 2cm squares, 0.5cm thick
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 1 small red capsicum diced
  • 1 long red chilli finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves finely diced
  • ¼ cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cooking caramel or dark soy
  • 1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp cornflour, mixed into a slurry with 2 tbsp water (optional, to thicken)
  • 2 long green shallots finely sliced
  • 1 small handful coriander leaves


  • Dry roast the Sichuan peppercorns in a hot wok for 20 seconds, then lower heat and stir for about a minute until aromatic. Crush in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Mix with the flour and season with a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  • Crush the black peppercorns and reserve separately.
  • Heat vegetable oil in the wok on high. When just beginning to smoke, add the eggplant and shallow-fry until golden brown, then drain on paper towel.
  • Toss the tofu in the flour mixture and fry until golden all over, with a thin crust. Reserve and clean out the wok.
  • Add 1 tbsp oil to the wok. When just smoking, add onion, capsicum, chilli, garlic and crushed black pepper and stir-fry until fragrant.
  • Add stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce and caster sugar and reduce slightly. Check seasoning, then add the tofu and eggplant to the sauce.
  • Add cornflour and water mixture to thicken if desired.
  • Garnish with shallots and coriander and serve with rice.