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Last updated on February 15th, 2024 at 02:01 pm

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Korean Spicy Tofu Recipe – Vegan & Crispy!

Korean Spicy Tofu, also known as braised tofu dubu jorim or, is firm tofu soaked in spicy sauce, and cooked to crispy perfection. The tofu absorbs the soy sauce while being baked in the oven and then it is cooked in a non-stick pan with savory sauce until crispy. The crispy tofu can then be served as a delicious side dish or with brown rice and steamed broccoli for a hearty meal. We love Korean recipes, and making these Korean Chicken Wings and Korean Beef Bulgogi is a must!

Braised tofu dubu jorim is one of many Korean dishes in the Jorim category. They are made by simmering tofu, seafood, meat, or veggies in a seasoned broth or sauce until the sauce is reduced to a thick paste. They are usually made with soy sauce as well as other sauces like gochujang or gochugaru. 

Ingredients needed:

  • Extra firm tofu: Do not use silken or soft tofu for this recipe. 
  • Cornstarch: For thickening. 
  • Soy sauce: For flavor.

Korean gochujang sauce:

  • Gochujang paste: Korean chili paste.
  • Butter: Makes the gochujang paste milder.
  • Sesame oil: Toasted sesame oil is perfect.
  • Water: To thin out the sauce.
  • Soy sauce: For extra flavor.
  • Rice vinegar: White wine vinegar is also fine.
  • Agave: You could also use pure maple syrup or honey.
  • Garlic cloves: Essential for the rich garlic flavor.
  • Minced ginger: To add a mild sweetness.

Optional garnish:

  • Toasted sesame seeds: For crunch and flavor.
  • Diced green onion: Added flavor.

How to make spicy tofu from scratch?

  1. Preheat oven: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Chop into tofu cubes: In the meantime, drain the tofu and cut it into bite-sized cubes or slices. Use a paper towel to pat it dry.
  3. Mix it up: Next, mix soy sauce and cornstarch in a large bowl. Then, add the tofu slices to the soy sauce mixture and gently stir until it is coated.
  4. Bake tofu: Now, put the soaked tofu on a non-stick pan or a lined baking sheet covered in aluminum foil or parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn up the oven to 425 degrees F and bake for another five minutes until it is golden brown.
  5. Pan fry: Meanwhile, whisk all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and pour it into a skillet with tofu on medium-high heat. Then, turn it down to medium heat for about five minutes or until the sauce mixture is thick and sticky.
  6. Serve tofu: Then, serve pan-fried tofu over steamed rice with diced green onions, kimchi, and toasted sesame seeds for garnish.

Recipe variations:

  • Red pepper flakes: For extra spicy braised tofu, add some Korean red pepper flakes to your sauce ingredients.
  • Air fry: You can also make this Korean tofu recipe in the air fryer. Simply cook for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Tofu cooked in the air fryer can then be braised in the delicious sauce and served with rice.
  • Sweeter Korean braised tofu: Make your Korean braised tofu sweeter by adding some coconut sugar or brown sugar.
  • Another oil: Instead of sesame oil, you could use avocado, olive, or vegetable oil. 
  • Tahini: Your spicy braised tofu would also taste great with some tahini sauce. 
  • Other seeds: Instead of sesame seeds, you could use sunflower seeds or flaxseeds.

Frequently asked questions

How can I make this less spicy?

Although the recipe calls for two tablespoons of gochujang paste, feel free to use less for a milder sauce. Many Korean dishes can be served with green chili paste instead of red chili paste. You could also substitute it with sriracha, ganjang, doenjang, or bulgogi sauce. You could even use tomato paste if you do not want it spicy at all.

What are the different kinds of tofu?

Silken tofu is the lightest and creamiest with the highest water content. It is not a good choice for this recipe because it will turn into mush. Regular tofu is the most common for tofu recipes and other Korean recipes. Firm tofu is a good choice for frying and stuffing. Extra firm tofu is the best for this spicy Korean tofu recipe because it will crisp up nicely. 

How do I toast sesame seeds?

You could cook them on a lined baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes until they are golden brown. Or heat in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat for two to three minutes, stirring occasionally. Another way is to heat them in the air fryer. Just be sure to cover the air fryer basket with parchment paper so they do not fall through the holes. 

How to store leftovers:

  • Store: You can store your leftover Korean tofu in an airtight container for up to three days in the fridge.
  • Freeze: Freezing is not recommended.
  • Reheat: Bake in the oven at 400 degrees F for five minutes or in the air fryer for two to three minutes. 

More Asian recipes to try:

Korean Spicy Tofu

Korean Spicy Tofu, also known as braised tofu dubu jorim or, is firm tofu soaked in spicy sauce, and cooked to crispy perfection.

close show of cripsy spicy korean tofu cubes
  • Prep Time15 MIN
  • Cook Time30 MIN
  • Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 14 oz very firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or amino acids for gluten-free
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Korean Gochujang Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang paste Korean chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or amino acids for gluten-free
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup you can also use honey or agave
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger

Garnish:

  • sesame seeds
  • diced green onion

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven or you can also use an air fryer to 400F.
  • Drain the tofu, press it with paper towels to remove any excess liquid, and cut it into bite-sized cubes.
    cubed firm tofu on a cutting board
  • Add the tofu to a large bowl and mix with soy sauce and cornstarch.
    mixing cuber firm tofu with marinade in a large bowl
  • Arrange the tofu on a lined baking sheet, in one even layer, so the pieces do not touch each other. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until golden and crispy. Also, you can air fry the tofu for 10 minutes at 400F.
  • While the tofu is baking, add the sauce ingredients to a bowl and whisk until fully combined.
    spicy korean sauce ingredients in a bowl
  • Place a skillet over medium and combine the crispy tofu with the Spicy Korean Sauce, gently stir until the tofu is fully coated. Cook for about 5 minutes, the sauce should look sticky.
    coating crispy tofu in a spicy sauce in a pan
  • Serve over rice with kimchi on the side, and topped with diced green onions and sesame seeds.

Nutrition Facts

Recipe tips:

  • If you can only find firm tofu (not extra firm), you should press it for 15 to 30 minutes before cubing it.
  • The corn starch is important as it thickens the soy sauce, but you could also use potato starch or arrowroot powder.
  • If you like Korean food, you should try this delicious recipe. It has so much flavor and can be served as a Korean side dish cuisine or with steamed veggies on bok choy for a vegan dinner.
  • For more tofu recipes, check out our food blog. We have all sorts of Korean cuisine and tofu dishes you can try.
  • You can make this Korean braised tofu in the oven or air fryer and then fry it in a skillet or wok. 

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Comments

(20)
Melissa Cushing

Melissa Cushing

I have never eaten Tofu but if I did I would wnat to take it just like this. So much flavor and looks incredible!

Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen

Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen

I love tofu so I know I'm gonna love this recipe. Looks so good!

Christy G

Christy G

I’ve never tried tofu and don’t really care to. But my uncle loves it. I’ll have to send him this recipe to try. Hopefully, he loves this flavor.

Rosey

Rosey

What a fun way to make tofu. It's nice how versatile it can be for recipes.

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