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Soy & Szechuan Pepper Tofu w/ Wasabi Pea Puree

March 25, 2011

Soy & Szechuan Pepper Tofu w/ Wasabi Pea Puree

This vegetarian dish is an obvious play on that beer time favourite snack, salt and pepper squid. I never tried the seafood version before I became a vegetarian but I love the idea of a salty and peppery crumb deep fried to delicious perfect crispness and served with a simple salad of crunchy greens and herbs.

Tofu is the obvious substitute here for a vegetarian version as it deep fries perfectly and allows the soy and lemon to add flavour. I am looking forward to trying this delicious crumb recipe out on a few other ingredients now too; like sweet potato and recently I saw a few recipes for deep fried crumbed avocado so um, yes please!

I used store brought rice crumbs which are egg, dairy and gluten free and add a lovely crunch to the tofu. These should be available in the health/gluten free section of your supermarket or at any good health food store. The Szechuan pepper really makes this vegetarian recipe something special with its beautiful aromatic flavour. Again you should be able to find Szechuan pepper in the spice section of your supermarket or at any Asian grocery store.

We served these delicious little crispy strips of deep fried tofu with a sweet wasabi pea mash which is super simple to prepare and adds a lovely contrast to the dish. To complement the overall meal we added a small side salad of baby Asian greens, bean sprouts and torn fresh coriander, so good! Enjoy this tasty tofu recipe as a light main meal or served up to family and friends as an afternoon snack or appetizer when entertaining.

Soy & Szechuan Pepper Tofu w/ Wasabi Pea Puree

Preparation time: 45mins // Serves 4-6

Soy & Szechuan Pepper Tofu

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  • 500g (1lb) firm organic tofu
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 3 tsp Szechuan pepper corns, freshly ground
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • ¼ tsp sea salt flakes
  • ½ cup rice crumbs (we used Orgran brand All Purpose Rice Crumbs)
  • 1 tsp corn flour (cornstarch)
  • rice bran or peanut oil for deep frying

Wasabi Pea Puree

  • 2½ cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1-1½ tsp wasabi (to taste)

Salad Plate

  • 2 cups baby Asian greens (or any small crisp lettuce leaves)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 cup fresh coriander (cilantro) roughly torn
  • 1-2 red chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • ½ lemon, juice
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

To prepare the tofu slice it into approximately 1cm (1/4 inch) x 2cm (3/4 inch) strips and toss with the lemon juice and soy sauce in a shallow bowl. Allow to sit while you prepare the remainder of the dish.

Prepare the wasabi pea puree by adding the peas and water to a frying pan. Allow the peas to gently simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes until tender and bright green. Remove from the heat and using a fork or stick blender puree the peas until smooth adding the wasabi to taste. Set aside and keep warm.

To make the salad plate toss all the ingredients together with the lemon juice and sesame oil, arrange on small separate plates per person or on one large plate for the centre of the table.

Prepare the rice crumbs by combing well with the Szechuan pepper, white pepper and salt flakes. Remove the tofu from the lemon juice and soy (reserving this) and pat dry with absorbent paper.

Combine the corn flour (cornstarch) with the reserved lemon juice and soy, whisking until smooth.

In a medium sized deep saucepan heat at least 15cm (6 inch) of oil over a medium heat until the surface begins to shimmer.

To deep fry the tofu working with one piece at a time dunk it into the cornflour mixture and then into the rice crumbs pressing and patting the crumbs to coat the tofu evenly.

In small batches deep fry the crumbed tofu for 1 minute until it is crisp and golden, remove from the oil and drain on absorbent paper. Fry only a few pieces of the crumbed tofu at a time to avoid over crowding the oil and to allow the tofu to cook quickly.

Serve the crumbed tofu sprinkled with a little extra salt flakes and few cracks of pepper and wedges of lemon. Accompany with the wasabi pea puree and crunchy side salad for a completely delicious snack or light vegetarian meal.

Soy & Szechuan Pepper Tofu w/ Wasabi Pea Puree

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  • chow vegan March 25, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    OMG! Those look amazing! I love szechuan pepper anything! :-)

  • alissa @ not just apples March 25, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    these do look so good!! thanks for sharing the recipe :)

  • JL goes Vegan March 25, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    The tofu looks incredible! (and pea puree, too!)

  • Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets March 26, 2011 at 12:55 am

    This looks great, Trudy! I love the Chinese method of tossing fried things in salt and pepper. Never had a version with soy as well but I’m sure it just adds to the umami. Love the sides, too :).

  • pb March 26, 2011 at 2:43 am

    this looks gr8…never heard of rice crumbs it like powdered dry rice, i mean a coarser kind of rice flour?


  • Mike March 26, 2011 at 3:44 am

    I’m not a vegetarian but these look really good to me!

  • Karla (Kinder Cusine) March 26, 2011 at 10:41 am

    This looks amazing! I had a similar dish from a new Asian takeaway shop in my area yesterday and it was really delicious – the tofu really works :)

  • Jen March 26, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    @pb rice crumbs are like bread crumbs, but are a little larger in size and in my experience tend to fry up a little crunchier and better. They are probably closer in texture to corn crumbs… I’m about to put this recipe to the ultimate test – cooking it for my mother in law!! So I’ll let you know if my culinary skills are worthy of this amazing recipe!!

  • Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul March 28, 2011 at 1:36 am

    Yum Yum! I was just thinking, “What should I make for lunch today?”. I have to take it with me to church and work, so I need something that will be just as tasty cold.
    You’ve inspired me once again! I’m going to bread and bake some tofu and dress some soba noodles and massaged collard greens like you dressed your pretty salad.

  • sally March 28, 2011 at 2:43 am

    Yum! This looks like the perfect happy hour snack! The wasabi pea dip sounds fantastic too!

  • Jennifer (Delicieux) March 28, 2011 at 9:14 am

    This looks like such a wonderful snack, especially with the wasabi pea dip. I really love how you’ve taken a seafood dish and given it a vegetarian twist.

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen March 29, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I love this idea, it reminds me a little of mozzarella sticks. I don’t know if I can find rice crumbs though, I’ll have to look, do you think Panko would be a good substitute?

  • Soma March 30, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Oh what a deal. LOVE the wasabi peas and perfect soy sides. Love it.

  • Trudy ~ Veggie num num March 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Thanks so much for all the great comments everyone!! So lovely to hear from you all!! if you can’t find rice crumbs try a mixture of rice and plain flour or yes indeed Sylvie I do believe panko would be perfect (I actually nearly used this myself before deciding on the rice crumbs) drop back in and let me know how it turns out if you give this recipe a whirl, cheers 😀

  • nicole April 1, 2011 at 2:38 am

    this looks great i just bought some tofu and wanted to do something differant with it thanks for the great recipie

  • Trudy ~ Veggie num num April 1, 2011 at 10:20 am

    My pleasure NIcole, it’s a super awesome way to enjoy tofu :)

  • Cucee Sprouts May 4, 2011 at 4:46 am

    Talking about yummy-looking!!! I can’t wait to try this recipe. I think it will go really well with my Arugula salad. The flavors should be really complimentary

  • Rachel July 26, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Wow looks amazing. I’m going to try this tonight!!

    I just made an amazing vegan recipe too!

    I just started to blog so check it out!


  • Michael August 23, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Hi Trudy – we just made these (at least the tofu and the puree) for a vegan gluten-free potluck and they were a great success. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  • Kate September 17, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Every recipe I’ve made from your wonderful site has been absolutely fantastic! We just made these, and they were amazing – love the use of rice flakes, as they don’t absorb much oil and the Wasabi peas were a lovely accompaniment…looking forward to trying more. xx

  • Jen @ giftboxology April 19, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I made this for our dinner tonight. I have been looking forward to it for over a week now. I was a little worried I had built it up too much & it was going to be a little disappointing ( my cooking, not your recipe!) but it was amazing.

    Thanks Trudy. I just love your recipes, pics & website as a whole. I want to make everything! (next on the agenda is Dal Kofta!)

    Thanks again, Jen

  • Tha'is June 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight. Great taste but I found the crumbs came off when I put them into the oil. I ended up sprinkling the cooked crumbs onto the finished tofu. Any tips on how to stop this happening again?