Crispy Smoked Tofu

By / Food / February 10th, 2024 / Like

Recipe from Polish’d: Modern Vegetarian Cooking from Global Poland © Michał Korkosz, 2023.Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available everywhere books are sold. 

Crispy Smoked Tofu with black polish sauce

Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish

Black Polish Sauce, often known as pepper sauce, was one of the most common and essential sauces in kuchnia staropolska (Old Polish cuisine). It was made with plum jam, vinegar, honey, and ginger, along with copious amounts of pepper. Burned straw was used to give the sauce its distinctive black color and also provided a smoky flavor. It was most often served with meat, particularly roasted goose. I’ve recreated this dish using smoked tofu and soy sauce to reproduce the color and deep taste.


  • One 12-ounce (340 g) block firm smoked tofu
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup (120 ml) neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns, plus more for serving
  • 3 tablespoons plum jam
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • One 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced


  1. Drain the tofu and press between several layers of paper or kitchen towels to remove excess liquid. Repeat the process once more, and cut it into ¾-inch (2 cm) slices.
  2. On a large plate, combine the cornstarch and salt. Dredge the tofu in the mixture to coat. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. The oil is ready when a pinch of bread crumbs bubbles immediately. Carefully add the tofu slices one by one so the oil doesn’t splash. Cook until crisp and brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully flip and repeat on the opposite side. Reduce the heat to medium-low and remove the tofu from the skillet. Place the tofu on a plate covered with a few layers of paper or kitchen towels to drain. Discard any remaining oil from the skillet.
  4. Coarsely crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle or place in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a small saucepan. The consistency should be coarser than ground pepper.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the plum jam, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, ginger, the crushed peppercorns, and ¼ cup (60 ml) water. Transfer to the cooled skillet and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the tofu. Cook, basting the tofu occasionally, until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 3 minutes.
  7. To serve, divide among plates and top with more crushed peppercorns.

photo credit: Mateusz Grzelak

Michał Korkosz won the 2017 Saveur Blog Award for best food photography (both Editors’ and Readers’ Choice). He is a food journalist (a contributor to Vogue Polska), cake lover, and croissant gourmand. On his blog, Rozkoszny (which means “delightful”), he connects his love of cooking with another hobby—photography that captures both his delicious dishes and the loved ones he shares them with. He was born and raised in Poland and lives in Warsaw. Follow him on Instagram at @rozkoszny @michal_korkosz.


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