Braised tofu with five-spice powder

This tofu is coated in a flavorful, glossy sauce made of Chinese five-spice powder, white pepper powder, and soy sauces. Like the name suggests, five-spice powder is made of a blend of five spices (duh): star anise, fennel seeds, cinnamon, sichuan peppercorn, and cloves. I pressed and air-fried the tofu prior to cooking but you can also press and pan-fry. You might recognize that the cooking method for this dish draws loose inspiration from Dubu Jorim, a Korean spicy braised tofu dish.

You’ll need:

  • 1 block firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2 inch squares
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated (~1/2 tsp)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced, separated into whites and greens
  • 2 dried chilis, broken in half
  • optional: crispy shallots, toasted sesame seeds

Sauce (mix together):

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp five spice powder
  • Few dashes of white pepper (~1/8 tsp white pepper)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

To make:

  • Air-fry tofu for 10 mins at 375. Alternatively, heat up some oil in a pan over medium heat and pan-fry both sides of the tofu until lightly golden brown ~3 minutes
  • Heat up some oil over medium heat and add in the ginger, garlic, scallion whites, and dried chilis and cook until fragrant ~minute
  • Lower heat to medium-low and add in the sauce. And then add in the tofu
  • Cook tofu on each side for ~2 minutes until well-coated in sauce
  • Top with scallions, sesame seeds, and crispy shallots


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