1) Slice tofu block into three or four large slices and press them between a few paper towels with some weight on top for about five minutes to press out some of the water.
2) Cube tofu and toss with cornstarch until the cubes are lightly coated. A few tablespoons of cornstarch will be enough.
3) Heat oil in a large wok or frying pan and fry tofu in two batches at 350 degrees until the tofu is nicely crisp, about 6-8 minutes per batch.
4) Remove tofu and let drain on a paper towel. Pour out oil. Don’t worry about cleaning wok or pan.
5) Add butter to wok and once melted, add shallots, chiles, garlic, and ginger. Cook over medium-high heat until veggies start to get soft, about 3-4 minutes.
6) In a separate bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Grind peppercorns roughly.
7) Pour soy sauce mixture into wok and let reduce for a minute or two. Add black pepper and tofu and toss to combine and heat tofu.
8) Serve immediately with rice and chopped scallions.