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Spicy Seared Tofu with Sweet Pepper
This vegetarian dish is full of contrasting flavors and textures. The inspiration comes from classic Sichuan home-style tofu, which is deep-fried and finished with an umami-rich sauce. For our adaptation, we sear the tofu instead of fry it, and we make a deeply flavored sauce with a few kitchen staples. Korean gochujang or chili-garlic sauce stands in for toban djan, the chili-bean paste used in traditional home-style tofu; if you happen to have toban djan, use an equal amount. Dry sherry imitates the flavor of Shaoxing wine, whereas balsamic vinegar mimics the malty sweetness of Chinese black vinegar. Use whichever is in the cupboard. Serve with steamed rice; brown rice is an especially tasty pairing.
14-ounce container firm OR extra-firm tofu, drained
Kosher salt and ground black pepper