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Braised Tofu Recipe: Korean Dubu Jorim and Spicy Sesame


If you’re not yet familiar with Dubu Jorim, it’s time to try this popular Korean braised tofu dish with a spicy kick, fresh garlic, and sesame. Follow our recipe below to make this tofu appetizer at home in just 15 minutes. 

Dubu Jorim is our favorite Korean tofu side dish, pan-fried and served with an addictively spicy red pepper-based sauce. 

This spicy braised tofu is one of the most popular Korean banchan, or “little plates.” We’ve had it several times at Korean restaurants and sushi joints and thought we’d try our hand at creating our unique recipe. 

It turns out, making Dubu Jorim at home is super simple! It takes a short 15 minutes from prep to cooking time, and it’s the perfect dish to prepare ahead as you can serve it hot immediately after frying or cold from the fridge as delicious leftovers. 

The flavor in this dish comes mainly from one focal point - those red pepper flakes that famously flavor kimchi give this mild tofu a great kick. You can find fine ground in almost every Asian or international grocery store.

Korean Tofu Recipe - FAQ

What is braised tofu (Dubu Jorim)?

Dubu Jorim is a popular Korean side dish of pan-fried tofu that reduces in a spicy braising sauce. Dubu Jorim sauce typically contains soy sauce, sesame, sugar, garlic, and the main ingredient - Gochugaru, Korean red pepper flakes, or powder.  

What does braised tofu taste like?

Most of the flavor in this tofu dish comes from the Gochugaru, which gives it a spicy, smoky, and mildly sweet flavor. Soy sauce gives the vegan Korean food an umami flavor, and some sugar balances the spice and salt nicely. 

What is Gochugaru?

Gochugaru is a spicy Korean red pepper powder, coarsely ground from sun-dried peppers with the seeds removed. The vibrant red-hued spice, also known as Korean chili flakes or Korean chili powder, is a staple in traditional Korean kitchens. 

The spice level ranges from mild to hot, depending on its preparations. It’s available at most Asian grocery stores, but if you can’t find any, you can substitute for Gochujang, chipotle powder, or hot red pepper flakes. 

Is braised tofu healthy?

This braised tofu is relatively healthy due to its main ingredient - tofu. This braised bean curd is high in plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, and low in fat. Though the sauce contains some sugar, you only need 1 tsp in the entire recipe. 

Gochugaru provides similar health benefits as many other chili peppers. It’s rich in vitamin E, dietary fiber, iron, copper and promotes healthy blood flow. 

Can I use another kind of tofu?

Firm or extra firm tofu works well in this recipe, as they best hold up to the heat of a frying pan. Sometimes Korean chefs will substitute for soft tofu, but beware if you plan to work with it - it’s fragile and easily crumbles.

Stay away from silken tofu, which is far too watery to work for braised tofu. 

Do I need to press the tofu?

If you’re using firm or extra-firm tofu, it’s best to press the tofu before frying it. Tofu is relatively high in water, so to best absorb the Gochugaru sauce, you’ll want to squeeze the water out first. It also helps crisp up the tofu in the pan and prevents sogginess. 

A tofu press is the easiest method to get the job done in 15 minutes, but if you don’t own one, you can press your tofu between two paper towel-lined plates for 2-3 hours. 

Is Dubu Jorim vegan?

Our recipe for Dubu Jorim is entirely vegan and plant-based! 

What goes well with braised tofu?

If you want to make a traditional Korean dinner, pair your Dubu Jorim with Kimchi Jjigae, Bukeo Guk, or Mandu. 

You can also keep your dinner simple and serve your Dubu Jorim on a bed of steamed jasmine rice with bok choy, mushrooms, and other cooked veggies. It’s also pretty tasty on top of rice noodles!

How long can I store Dubu Jorim?

Dubu Jorim lasts in the fridge for up to 3 days in a sealed airtight container. While you can freeze braised tofu for up to 6 months, beware that tofu release a lot of water and may be quite soggy once thawed. 

Final Notes: Korean Spicy Tofu

Whether you’re enjoying it hot or cold, you can feel good eating this healthy dish as a main or a side for lunch or dinner!

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