Looking for a quick tofu recipe? This Korean braised tofu recipe turns bland tofu into a full flavored tofu dish packed with plant-based protein. Pan-seared tofu slices are braised in a spicy savory sauce. Adjust the amount of Korean chili flakes to suit your spice level.

Spicy braised tofu slices are placed in an oval platter with a pair of chopsticks

If you are a person who has not experienced a tofu dish that is actually tasty and flavorful, try this Korean braised tofu recipe. It’s called dubu jorim (두부조림), and you will not be disappointed.

Firm tofu slices are pan-seared quickly then braised in a delicious, savory sauce made with onion, soy sauce, and Korean chili flakes. 

The texture of the tofu is lovely without being overly mushy — thanks to the quick pan-frying prior to braising.

It’s a little on the spicy side, but you can always adjust the amount of chili flakes to your liking.

The tofu becomes crispy on the outside but incredibly moist and soft inside. Serve it as a simple, healthy main dish in a rice bowl or with noodles. It makes a complementary side dish, too. 

2 spicy tofu slices are placed on top of a bowl of rice next to chopsticks on a napkin.

The beauty of this recipe is how easily and quickly you can prepare it — within 15 minutes or so.

It’s probably one of the easiest Asian tofu recipes you’ll come across with only a handful of ingredients that you might already have in your kitchen.

Tofu Dishes in Korean Cuisine

Tofu is a staple ingredient in Korean cuisine, as it is in other Asian countries. You will find numerous dishes made with tofu as a main ingredient. Check these recipes below.

Tofu is also often used to accentuate other dishes like doenjang jjigae, kimchi jjigae, Korean army stew, and etc.

Without a doubt tofu is an important source of plant-based protein in Korean cuisine and it is widely loved.

Korean braised tofu slices are presented in an oval platter next to a bowl of rice.

Versatile tofu recipe

  • This braised tofu is one of my personal favorite Korean side dishes. I make it quite often when I need something quick to serve with rice. The bright red color immediately whets my appetite, and the flavor of this tofu has never failed to satisfy me. I hope it will do the same for you.
  • Want to make it heartier? Although I prefer serving it as is without adding anything else, add your favorite veggies if you prefer to make it more nutritious. Zucchini, carrot, radish, pepper are good addition.
  • Try adding chopped shrimp. It adds another layer of flavor and tastes delicious. See my Korean braised tofu and radish recipe.
  • Perfect tofu rice bowl or tofu noodle bowl, or even with porridge. Just top it up with this flavorful tofu and you are good to go.
  • Wonderful vegetarian or vegan dish if you use water instead of stock.

No need to press tofu

Many people bothers with pressing tofu by putting some sort of heavy tofu press object to remove the water from tofu. There’s no need of it if you follow my instruction.

All you need is couple sheets of paper towel to gently wipe off the moisture from the surface of tofu. My Korean pan-fried crispy tofu (dubu buchim) is a great example of that. You will get crispy and chewy tofu every time.

Ingredient for making Korean braised tofu are presented,

Ingredients you’ll need for this recipe

  • tofu – use firm tofu
  • onion, chili, garlic, green onion – adds savory taste. You can omit fresh chili if you prefer it to be milder.
  • soy sauce
  • Korean chili flakes (gochugaru)
  • sesame oil – an aromatic ingredient
  • Either anchovy stock or water – I personally prefer using anchovy stock to add umami, but water works fine, too.

What tofu to use

There are three different types of Korean tofu — firm (부침용), soft (찌개용), and silken (생식용). Please see my Korean pantry page to learn more about each Korean tofu and its usage in various recipes.

For this braised tofu recipe, I recommend using a block of firm tofu. It holds its shape, and you can enjoy the chewy texture of the tofu.

How to make quick Korean braised tofu

Sauce for braised tofu is mixed in a small bowl with a spoon.
A pot of anchovy and sea kelp stock is simmering.

Step 1. To make the sauce, combine soy sauce, Korean chili flakes, garlic, sugar, sesame oil, black pepper. Pour anchovy stock or water and mix well; set aside.

Note: If you are making this recipe as a vegetarian tofu dish, use water instead of anchovy stock.

A hand is holding a slice of tofu pressed with paper towel.

Step 2. Slice tofu into 1/2-inch thickness. Press tofu slices slightly firmly with a piece of paper towel to remove excess moisture.

Tofu slices are pan fried in a skillet to golden crisp.

Step 3. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add tofu slices and sear for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and crisp.

SPicy sauce and green chili slices are added on top of tofu slices in a skillet.

Step 4. Add onion and chili on top of tofu. Pour the sauce evenly over the tofu and let it boil. Cover with lid and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium low heat.

Tofu slices are are simmered in a skillet.
Chopped green onion are added on top of braised tofu as a garnish.

Step 5. Remove the lid and garnish the braised tofu with chopped green onion and toasted sesame seeds if you wish.

Spicy braised tofu slices are placed on top of a bowl of white rice

Serve this Korean spicy tofu dish with a bowl of steamed rice as a plant-based main dish or complementary side dish.

More Tofu Recipes

Below are a few more tofu dishes that you might like.

Spicy braised tofu slices are placed in an oval platter with a pair of chopsticks

Quick Braised Tofu

This quick Korean braised tofu recipe turns bland tofu into a full flavored dish. Pan-seared tofu slices are braised in a spicy savory sauce. Adjust the amount of Korean chili flakes to suit your spice level.
5 from 1 rating

Ingredients

Instructions 

  • To make the sauce, combine soy sauce, Korean chili flakes, garlic, sugar, sesame oil, black pepper. Pour anchovy stock (or water) and mix well; set aside.
  • Slice tofu into 1/2-inch thickness. Press tofu slices slightly firmly with a piece of paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add tofu slices and sear for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and crisp.
  • Add onion and chili on top of tofu. Pour the sauce evenly over the tofu and let it boil. Cover with lid and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium low heat.
  • Remove the lid and garnish the braised tofu with chopped green onion and toasted sesame seeds if you wish. Serve with rice.

Notes

To make anchovy stock:
Put 5-6 large dried anchovies and a piece of dried sea kelp in a pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to boil and simmer over low heat for 4-5 minutes. Discard the anchovies and sea kelp and reserve the stock.
Vegetarian adaptation: Use water, instead of anchovy stock, in the sauce.
Calories: 164kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 848mg, Potassium: 121mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 891IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 172mg, Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @beyondkimchee on Instagram. I love to see your masterpiece.