Black Pepper Tofu with Zucchini

Black Pepper Tofu with Zucchini

YIELDS: 2 Servings PREP TIME: 15 mins COOK TIME: 15 mins  TOTAL TIME: 30 mins

1 package firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1" cubes
Cornstarch for dredging (optional)
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 pinch salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 small-medium zucchini, thinly sliced
Black Pepper Sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine, white wine, or rice wine
2 tbsp water
1 tsp honey
½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp chili paste (optional)
Brown rice for serving, if desired
Tools 
Saucepan 
Cast iron skillet 

  1. Blot the tofu cubes with paper towels, pressing down lightly, until dry.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together all ingredients for the black pepper sauce until the honey has dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Lightly dredge the tofu in cornstarch. (This step is optional but provides a nice crispy texture.)
  4. Heat the sesame oil in a wok or large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salt and black pepper to the oil and swirl until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the tofu to the oil and sear on all sides until golden and crispy. This should take about 5-6 minutes and you may need to lower the heat a bit.
  6. Transfer the tofu to a paper towel-lined plate and wipe out the wok.
  7. Add a teaspoon or two of sesame oil to the pan and add the shallot, garlic, and zucchini.
  8. Stir continuously until the zucchini begins to soften and the shallots become golden, about 3-4 minutes. 
  9. Add the prepared black pepper sauce to the pan and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  10. At the very end, add the tofu to the pan and toss to coat. (Cook only for 5-10 seconds so it does not become soggy.) Divide between two bowls.
  11. Serve with brown rice, if desired. Enjoy!