The focal point of this recipe is the 'king of spices', black pepper, which has been associated with some mighty health benefits including improving brain function and protecting the body from inflammation. In this recipe it packs quite a punch! So if you would prefer something a little milder, just adjust the amount of pepper from 3 to 1 or 2 teaspoons.
3 heaped tsps black peppercorns, crushed in pestle & mortar
4 tbs soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos
1 tbs sherry vinegar
1 tbs sesame oil
75 ml vegetable stock
2 tsps arrowroot or corn flour mixed to a paste with a little water
280g organic tofu, cubed
1 tbs arrowroot or corn flour
1 aubergine, cubed
250g tenderstem broccoli
Handful spinach or Swiss chard
100g brown rice noodles
3 tbs coconut or groundnut oil
Start by making the black pepper sauce. Mix together the crushed peppercorns, soy sauce, sherry vinegar, sesame oil, stock and flour paste. Set aside.
Coat the tofu with 1 tbs of the flour. Heat up 1 tbs of oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and fry the tofu. Cook until golden and crispy (approx. 10 minutes).
Cook the noodles as per the pack instructions.
Whilst the tofu and noodles are cooking put a large pan or wok over a high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is smoking, add the aubergine and cook for 5 minutes until it is softening and is a little charred at the edges. Add the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes more. Finally add the spinach and cook for another 1-2 minutes until everything is tender.
Reduce the heat and pour the noodles into the pan, followed by the black pepper sauce. Mix quickly so that as the sauce thickens you are coating the noodles and vegetables well.
Stir through the crispy tofu and serve immediately.