Steamed Soft Tofu with Soy Chili Sauce

steamed soft tofu with soy chili sauce

연두부 양념반찬

[ yeon-dubu yangnyum banchan ]

 When I was hospitalized after my surgery in Korea this past summer, I had to live with hospital food for a few days. Maybe because of all the trauma I had to go through, I lost my appetite big time. I am not a picky eater. I usually eat everything served in front of my nose. But for some reason I just couldn’t eat anything in the hospital. I lost 10 lbs in 10 days. (unfortunately I gained all back plus a little extra now as I am recovering… urgh!!!)

The nurse and the meal serving staff were quite unhappy to see hardly eaten meal on the tray of mine. I don’t think there was anything wrong with the food. It’s just that nothing tasted the same to me as they should.

However there was one dish that I ate without fussing much. It was this steamed soft tofu with soy chili sauce. It was comforting and I could actually taste the flavor of the sauce and swallow it down. I emptied out the dish with some rice and it certainly made me feel a little better.


steamed soft tofu with soy chili sauceSoft tofu, aka silken tofu (연두부, yeon-dubu ) doesn’t have much flavor itself. Which means you can add any flavor you like to turn this amazing plant based protein food into any savory dish or even a dessert.

This recipe is very easy and simple to make, and it can be made within 10 minutes of time. I used hot water steaming method to enjoy my tofu warm but you can certainly eat cold right out of fridge.


soft tofuHere is a block of soft(silken) tofu.


tutorial-2I dumped the whole package in the simmering water over low heat and hot bathed it for 7-10 minutes.


tutorial-3Meanwhile, combine soy sauce, Korean soy sauce for soup, sesame oil, sesame seeds and some chopped green onion, and a little water in a small mixing bowl. Add a little bit of Koran chili flakes to the mixture.

That’s it. You are done cooking.


tutorial-4Cut one side of package top and drain all the liquid. Be cautious! It will be hot.


tutorial-5 Turn tofu block onto cutting board and slice into 2-4 sections depends on the serving size you desire.

Place the tofu piece on a serving plate and drizzle the sauce over. And you got one of the easiest Korean side dish to impress. It is flavorful, healthy, vegan, and gluten free (if using gluten free soy sauce). You can eat as is, which I often do, or serve it with some rice.

What a great feeling to enjoy the beautiful fall season again! I have missed it for the past tow years. It is good to be back in the States.

Hope you would like this simple tofu dish.


steamed soft tofu with soy chili sauce

Steamed Soft Tofu with Soy Chili Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serving Size: 2-4

Steamed Soft Tofu with Soy Chili Sauce


  • 1 package soft (silken) tofu
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Korean soy sauce for soup (gook ganjang or chosun ganjang)
  • 2 -3 teaspoon Korean chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoon chopped green onion
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. Bring a pot of water to simmer over low heat. Add the unopened tofu package in the pot and let it simmer for 7-10 minutes to heat up.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine all the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  3. Take the tofu package out of simmering water and open one side of package top to drain all the liquid inside. (Be cautious! The liquid will be hot)
  4. Open up the tofu package and turn the tofu onto the cutting board. Cut it into 2-4 sections and place on the serving plate. Drizzle the sauce over and serve warm.

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  1. 1

    Jiji says

    Hi Holly언니! (I hope that’s okay)

    This is a wonderful yet simple and hassle free delicious recipe! I’m going to make this “당장”!
    Love your blog! I love the way to write, too.

  2. 5

    Jeanne says

    I _love_ tofu, especially the silken type. Thank you for this recipe, Holly. I also like the subtly-coloured glaze of your plate. Like celadon or jade :-)

  3. 13

    jill says

    I’m glad to hear you’re back! This is one of my favorite side dishes, and I’ve been wondering how to make it. Thanks for posting this recipe.

  4. 19

    Michael says

    When I was living in Daegu, my wife was in the hospital. I shared some of her food with her, and I suprisingly enjoyed it. It was simple, but quite tasty. Much better than in any american hospital.

  5. 21

    Merita says

    Hi there, I just made this for my lunch and it was quick and really really tasty. I will be making this often. Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. 24

    tom says

    this is a wonderful recipe. I subbed the soup soya sauce for a bit more normal soya sauce and a teaspoon of fish sauce. It was delicious. Utterly delicious.

    • 25


      That’s great, tom. I am so happy to hear you tried this recipe and loved it. Replacing the Korean soy sauce for soup to fish sauce is a great idea!

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