For the tofu
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for shallow frying
500g/1lb 2oz firm tofu, drained, patted dry with kitchen paper, cut into 1.5cm/½in cubes
4 tbsp rice flour (potato flour or cornflour can also be used)
2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
For the chilli sauce
150ml/5fl oz rice wine vinegar
150g/5oz caster sugar
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 red chillies, finely diced
2 tsp dried chilli flakes
10cm/4in piece fresh root ginger, peeled, finely grated
2 carrots, peeled, julienned
For the egg-fried rice
2 tbsp groundnut oil
200g/7oz basmati rice, cooked according to packet instructions, drained
2 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp sesame oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 scallions, finely sliced - green part only
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
For the tofu, pour the vegetable oil into a deep heavy-based frying pan until it is 3cm/1in in depth. Heat over a medium heat. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)
Meanwhile, mix the tofu with the two remaining tablespoons of vegetable oil.
Mix the flour and crushed peppercorns together in a bowl. Dredge the tofu in the flour, shake off any excess, then carefully lower the coated tofu into the hot oil and cook the tofu for 1-2 minutes, or until crisp. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. (You may need to do this in batches.)
For the chilli sauce, heat the vinegar, sugar and soy sauce in a non-reactive frying pan until the mixture comes to the boil. Add the chilies, chili flakes and ginger and cook for a further 1-2 minutes, or until the volume of the liquid had reduced.
Add the fried tofu and carrots to the pan, stir well and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the carrots have softened.
For the egg-fried rice, heat the oil in a wok over a high heat, add the rice and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the rice is completely warmed through.
Whisk the eggs and sesame oil together in a bowl and add to the wok. Stir-fry for a further 2-3 minutes, or until the eggs have cooked through completely.
Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper then stir through the scallions and coriander.
To serve, spoon the egg-fried rice onto four serving plates and top with a spoonful of chili-fried tofu.
Recipe adapted from: Good Food