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Tahu Lada Hitam - Tofu in Black Pepper Sauce

Black pepper sauce is so simple to make and always a crowd favorite. Although the sauce is rather spicy, kids usually gobble everything served with this sauce, but you may want to reduce the amount of chilies just to be on the safe side. To make the fried tofu, I usually start from regular extra firm tofu, then proceed to cut into bite sizes, marinate in a simple garlic and salt solution, and finally pan fried (you can deep fried too) until golden brown. If you are not keen on making your own fried tofu, usually Asian groceries like 99 Ranch Market or Marina stock ones already deep fried, but make sure to dowse them in plenty of hot water to remove excess oil so your dish won’t end up all oily.

Tahu Lada Hitam - Tofu in Black Pepper Sauce

Tahu Lada Hitam - Tofu in Black Pepper Sauce

Tahu Lada Hitam - Tofu in Black Pepper Sauce

5.0 from 2 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Total Time: 40 mins

Serves: 4

Print Recipe


  • Fried tofu
  • 1 block firm tofu (about 400 gram), cut into bite size cubes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 red fresno chilies, remove seeds and diced
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (Indonesian: kecap manis)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • cornstarch solution (1 teaspoon corn starch + 1 teaspoon water), mixed well
  • Garnish
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced


  • Fried tofu
    1. Mix together water, garlic, and salt in a mixing bowl. Marinate tofu cubes in this solution for 20 minutes.
    2. Heat 3 tablespoon oil in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat, fry tofu cubes until all sides are golden brown. If you prefer to deep fry the tofu, you can do so as well. Set aside.
  • Black pepper sauce
    1. Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a non-stick frying pan (I use the same frying pan as the one used to fry the tofu without cleaning) on medium-high, sauté garlic, onion, and red chilies until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    2. Season with oyster sauce, sweet soy sauce, sugar, black pepper, and salt. Mix well.
    3. Pour water, mix well. Once the sauce boils, add corn starch solution to thicken the sauce, cook 1 minute.
    4. Add fried tofu cubes into the sauce. Mix to coat the tofu cubes. Turn off heat, garnish with scallions, serve with steamed white rice.
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Indonesian Kitchen


  • Tuty Tuty says:

    Oh wow Anita, Here's another recipe that I need to try since I've been looking at my tofu sitting in the fridge for the past three days and saying to myself that I need to cook this ASAP. Thank you again. Will let you know how it comes out.

  • Christina Christina says:

    Dear Anita You have the best black pepper recipe that is very delicious and similar to what's served in popular eating places. I've been cooking this many times and the results were always great. Yet to comment on it until this time round. Thank you for the recipe! Happy CNY!

    • Anita Anita says:

      I'm so glad you like this recipe Christina. This one appears often in my meal rotation too. Also, Happy CNY! Today's the 15th day, so it still counts :)

  • Milky Milky says:

    I sometimes hesitate to give a review for a recipe when I make a lot of changes (and eyeball the ingredients too!) but I'd say the basic method and ingredients are good enough to result in a 100% tasty dish.

    I don't usually have chilies on hand, so I threw 2-3 dried chilies into the hot oil for the flavor. I followed the recipe for making baked "fried" tofu (which works really good for this) but I only had half a block so I used mushrooms and green beans to make up for it.

    It came out really saucy and delicious- to the point where I regret not starting my rice earlier because waiting for the rice to finish was torture!!!

    I will definitely need to try the Sapi Lada Hitam sometime, too. I think this sauce would let me get away with many different meat/vegetable combinations, so it's worth trying to memorize the basics for an ultra-fast meal prep.

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