Vegan Chinese Salt and Pepper Tofu
Inspired by VeggieBelly
For the sauté:
1/2 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
2 medium leeks, white part only, soaked and grit removed (1 cup when chopped)
1/2 cup celery rib, chopped
1/2 cup small green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
For the tofu:
14 oz firm tofu drained
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon or to taste freshly cracked black pepper
Sea Salt and pepper to taste
2 scallions thinly sliced, for toppings
Place tofu block onto a cutting board. Place a second cutting board over tofu. Place a heavy object on top of the cutting board, preferably a heavy can. Apply the weight on the tofu for about 15-20 minutes, to release water from tofu.
Pat dry the drained tofu. Cut into 1 inch cubes. Place the tofu cubes in a large bowl. Add corn starch, salt and pepper. Gently toss till the tofu pieces are very well coated.
Meanwhile, chop the leeks, celery and green pepper into a fine dice. Heat oil in a wok on medium-high heat. Add chopped leeks, celery, and green pepper. Sauté on high heat for about 2 minutes. Add ginger and garlic. Cook another 1-2 minutes. Add soy sauce and brown sugar and cook for 30 seconds. Set this mixture aside.
Heat the skillet, pour oil and make sure oil is hot. Add tofu cubes a few at a time. If you fry too many in one go they won’t crisp up. Fry the tofu pieces, flipping them around, so that all sides are golden brown. Drain onto a few layers of paper towels.
Heat up the sautéed leeks, celery and bell pepper. Add the fried tofu cubes to this. Toss well. Serve vegan Chinese salt and pepper tofu with your favorite chili sauce and garnish with scallions.