Tossed in a black pepper sauce that’s packed with umami and sweetness, these crispy tofu cubes are anything but boring! Thank you Reynolds Wrap® Foil for sponsoring this post!
“I think this is my new favorite tofu recipe”, said Ben after taking a few bites of the dish.
I have to admit I’m not surprised since the combination of soy sauce and black pepper is right up his alley, flavor profile wise. But it’s always nice to see him devour something I’ve made from scratch, it never gets old 😊.
If you read my blog regularly you know that I’m a tofu lover. The more I cook with tofu and the more I fall in love with it. It’s so versatile and the fact that it’s vegan makes it even better.
Whenever I cook with silken tofu, I’m very careful not to overdress it to preserve its delicate soy milk flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture. I usually serve it with just a drizzle of soy sauce or ponzu sauce.
The real fun in cooking tofu is when I use firm or extra firm tofu. Since it has a firmer texture, it means I can marinate it, fry it, or like today’s recipe, bake it!
Baking tofu gives it a wonderful crispy exterior, while keeping the inside moist and pillowy. And it’s also very easy to make!
All you need is a baking sheet and some sturdy foil like Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil, which is the one I always use because it’s high quality and durable for heavy foods. It’s my go-to foil in the kitchen and on the grill. Reynolds Wrap® Foil makes prepping, cooking, and clean-up a breeze.
Tools Needed to Make This Recipe
- Chef’s knife: There’s not a lot of cutting involved but you will need a sharp knife to chop the shallots, garlic, scallions, and tofu.
- Mixing bowl: A small mixing bowl or cereal bowl will work.
- Small frying pan or pot: Since we are only pan frying a couple of garlic cloves and shallots, you can use the smallest pan or pot you have.
- Baking sheet: A medium size baking sheet is what I’m using but you can use a small or large one as well. I find that medium size is just the right size since it leaves enough space between the tofu cubes to be able to flip them halfway through the baking process.
- Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil: I like to use Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil because it’s perfect for grilling, baking, and broiling, since you don’t have to worry about breaking or tearing, even with heavier foods.
Ingredients for Baked Tofu with Black Pepper Sauce
- Tofu: Use firm or medium firm tofu for this recipe. The firmer you get and the easier it will be to handle the cubes.
- Cornstarch: You will need a total of two tablespoons of cornstarch. Half will be used to give the tofu cubes their crispy texture, and the other half will give the sauce it gooey texture.
- Oil: Two tablespoons of neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil or vegetable oil is preferable. But if you only happen to have olive oil, you can use that as well.
- Water: The water is to dilute the flavors since soy sauce can be very powerful and salty.
- Soy sauce: You can use regular or low sodium soy sauce, or tamari sauce, or liquid amino.
- Sugar: The sugar helps balance the saltiness and umami of the soy sauce by mellowing it and adding depth of flavor.
- Salt: Just a pinch if needed. Do a taste test before adding any salt, you might not need it.
- Shallots: Use two small shallots or a big one and slice it thin. Onions are wonderful in that they soak up flavor so well and also add sweetness.
- Garlic: A little garlic is always needed in Asian dishes to add a little pungency! I’m using two cloves but go ahead and add two more if you are a garlic fanatic!
- Scallions: Topping this dish with fresh scallions adds a beautiful crunch and a pop of color.
How to Make Baked Tofu with Black Pepper Sauce
- Start by preheating your oven to 400ºF.
- Drain the tofu and wrap it in paper towels to remove the excess water.
- Slice the tofu into cubes and put them in a mixing bowl. Drizzle the oil on top and carefully toss the tofu, using a spatula (I find that it’s better than using my hands, which tends to break the tofu).
- Sprinkle some cornstarch on the tofu and toss it to coat evenly. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Take a medium size baking sheet and line it with Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil, including the edges.
- Place the tofu cubes on top of the foil and bake for 15 minutes. Take the baking sheet out of the oven, flip the tofu, and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
- While the tofu is baking, make the black pepper sauce by placing the oil, garlic, and shallots in a small pan and cooking them for 3-4 minutes, until the shallots are tender.
- Mix the remaining ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and pour it in the pan while stirring constantly. When the sauce has thickened and is bubbly, turn the heat off and set aside.
- Take the tofu out of the oven and transfer the cubes in a serving bowl.
- Pour the black pepper sauce over the tofu and top with scallions. Enjoy!
What to Serve with This Recipe
Now that you have a yummy and filling protein ready to be gobbled up, you will need some sides to go with it. Since this dish is quite assertive in flavor, I recommend choosing milder sides so as not to overwhelm your palate.
Some of my favorite side dishes for meals like this one are:
- Japanese rice or brown rice
- Green salad with Japanese carrot ginger dressing
- Miso soup
- Japanese cabbage salad
- Korean beans sprout salad (sookju namul)
Did you like this Baked Tofu with Black Pepper Sauce Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
Baked Tofu with Black Pepper Sauce
Tossed in a black pepper sauce that’s packed with umami and sweetness, these crispy tofu cubes are anything but boring!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
- Category: Tofu
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Chinese
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 block (14-16 ounces) firm or extra firm tofu, drained
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil
For the black pepper sauce:
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns (add an additional teaspoon if you love peppercorns)
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 2 small shallots, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Take the tofu out of the package and drain well. Gently wrap the tofu in paper towel and place on a plate. Leave for 15 minutes.
- Slice the tofu into bite size cubes and place them in a bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil, and gently fold using a spatula. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle 1 tablespoon cornstarch on top. Gently fold again to ensure all the pieces are coated.
- Cover a baking sheet with Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil, including the edges.
- Place the tofu cubes on the Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil and bake in the oven in the middle rack for 15 minutes.
- Take the tray out and flip the tofu. Return in the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the water, soy sauce, salt, sugar, cornstarch mix, and peppercorns, and set aside.
- In a small pan, add 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, and shallots. Cook on medium low for 3-4 minutes, until shallots are tender. Whisk the bowl with the sauce ingredients and slowly pour the mixture in the pan, while stirring constantly. The sauce is ready when it bubbles and thickens. Turn the heat off and set aside.
- Take the tofu out of the oven and transfer the tofu cubes to a serving bowl. Pour the black pepper sauce on top and top with chopped scallions. Enjoy!
- Serving Size: about 7 ounces tofu
- Calories: 449
- Sugar: 13g
- Sodium: 852.3mg
- Fat: 26g
- Saturated Fat: 3.6g
- Unsaturated Fat: 8.6g
- Trans Fat: 0g