Asian recipes/ Dinner/ Lunch/ One-pot recipes/ Quick & Easy/ Sauces, dressings & condiments/ Stir-fry/ Vegan/ Vegetarian

Crispy Smoked Salt & Pepper Tofu with Szechuan Noodle Stir Fry

12 May 2021

I was never a huge fan of tofu, but preparing it this way is just delicious! Coated in a pepper, salt and cornflour dusting and then deep fried in some oil, with a little dipping sauce, it’s great just like that! Even better is to add it to a saucy dish so it slowy soaks up the juices but still keeps it’s crunch. Delish!

I made a Szechuan sauce to stir fry the vegetables and noodles on, what is it about Szechuan peppers that’s just so addictive? I can’t believe I’ve only started cooking with it a year ago, I can never go back!

Schezuan sauce inspired by @feastingathome.

Crispy Smoked Salt & Pepper Tofu with Szechuan Noodle Stir Fry

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Dinner, lunch Asian, Chinese, Szechuan
By Saffron Serves: 2
Prep Time: 5 min Cooking Time: 25 min Total Time: 30 min


  • Crispy Tofu
  • 200 g (smoked) tofu (regular works too
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • Pepper & Salt
  • ± 1 cup vegetable or peanut oil for frying
  • Stir Fry Ingredients
  • 4-5 dried chili's, halved and some of the seeds removed
  • 3-4 garlic cloves sliced
  • 120 g mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 small long bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 spring onions, chopped into diagonal slices
  • Half a Chinese cabbage, roughly shredded
  • Noodles or rice of choice, enough for 2 ppl
  • Szechuan Sauce
  • 1 tsp Szechuan peppers (or substitute with black peppercorns)
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar or honey (or more to taste, you can also add more sweetness to the dish later)
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or black vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
  • 2-3 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp chili flakes or crispy chili oil
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 2-3 tsp corn starch (see notes)


Szechuan Sauce


In a dry pan toast the Szechuan peppers until smoking, ± 2 minutes.


Transfer to a pestle and mortar and finely crush.


Add to a bowl together with the rest of the ingredients, stir and set aside.

Crispy Tofu


If you have time, lay the tofu on a plate and add a heavy plate on to. Let the moisture squeeze out for 30 60 minutes, then pat dry with a paper towel. If you don't have the time, then just pat dry the tofu and start with the next step.


Slice the tofu into bite sized pieces, the thinner the slices the crispier they will be. I made them about 5 mm thick.


Add them to a large enough bowl so you can toss them around.


Add the cornstarch, pepper and salt, toss well to coat.


In a wok or frying pan heat up the vegetable or peanut oil.


When hot carefully add the tofu, first frying on 1 side, ± 2 minutes and then the other, also 2 minutes, until starting to brown and crisp up.


Transfer to a plate with a paper towel to drain and set aside. Now you can continue with the stir fry.

The Stir Fry (± 10 minutes)


Start cooking the noodles according to the package, they need to be just underdone before adding to the veggie mix at the end.


Remove some of the oil from the wok so ± 1 tbsp is left.


Add the garlic and chilis and stir fry on medium heat, ± 1 minute.


Add the cabbage, stir fry ± 2 minutes.


Add the mushrooms, stir fry ± 2 minutes.


Add the peppers, stir fry ± 2 minutes.


Add the sauce, stir fry ± 1 minute, it will thicken up quite quickly.


Add the cooked noodles and stir fry to coat with the sauce, ± 1 minute.


Finally add the crispy tofu, mix it through carefully and serve immediately, topped off with some spring onions and chili oil if you like!

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