This Korean soft tofu (silken tofu) takes less than 5 minutes to prepare using a microwave. You can also use boiling or steaming method to cook this delicious soft tofu recipe. With a simple Korean soy chili sauce, it makes easy, quick, healthy, and delicious side dish or a light meal to vegan and vegetarian dieters.

This quick silken tofu is steamed and served with Korean soy chili sauce

Several years ago, I was having a vacation on Korea’s eastern coast with my family riding three-wheeled all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Our guide told us to go up a steep mountain in the rain. Unfortunately I had a very bad fall, which led to a fracture on my upper femur bone right below the socket.

Long story short, instead of spending the day riding ATVs we rode ambulances instead. I had surgery and was hospitalized in a Korean hospital for a few days. During the hospitalization I lost over 10 lbs due to the stress and a loss of appetite. I wasn’t able to taste or eat any food that was served in the hospital. Everything tasted like sand EXCEPT this Korean soft tofu dish called “yeondubu (연두부)”.

Somehow, I was able to taste this silky smooth soft tofu drizzled with slightly spicy Korean soy chili sauce. It was the only dish that I could actually swallow down.

Streamed silken tofu with Korean soy chili sauce is easy to spoon up

This Korean silken tofu was a life-saver for me during those painful recovery days, and I still enjoy it. And of course, after my recovery I gained all the pounds back plus a little more. Arrrgh!

Out of all the soft tofu recipes out there, this is perhaps the easiest and quickest to make – less than 5 minutes to cook with the basic ingredients you already have in your kitchen. The better part? No clean up!

Doesn’t it sound like a perfect recipe for those lazy days when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen?

You can also serve this soft tofu dish cold, straight from the refrigerator. No cooking is necessary and it will bring a refreshingly cool taste. It’s good year-round, so don’t forget this incredibly easy Korean soft tofu when the hot summer rolls around.

Don’t miss out on this healthy vegetarian and vegan tofu recipe. It’s also a gluten-free recipe, if you use gluten-free soy sauce. This dish is low in fat, super delicious, and hassle-free!

What is silken tofu?

Korean organic soft tofu, often called silken tofu, is in the package.

Silken tofu is undrained and unpressed tofu. Of the many types of tofu, it has the highest water content. It is made by coagulating soy milk without curdling it, which gives it a wobbly, tender texture.

In the regular tofu world, you can find three different variety; soft, firm, and extra-firm. In Korean cuisine, we don’t use extra -firm tofu that much. Instead we put this silken tofu as a part of the tofu variety. If you want to differentiate between the soft tofu and silken tofu, silken tofu is softer and creamier than the soft tofu and it is more fragile and fall apart easily if handled not correctly.

Is silken tofu same as soft tofu?

However, silken tofu is often called as soft tofu in Korean and Chinese cuisine. Korean cuisine often uses the term of soft tofu in the name of dish where the silken tofu is actually used instead.

Spicy Korean soft tofu soup (soondubu jjigae) is made with this silken tofu called soon tofu (순두부), but people calls it soft tofu soup (or stew) in English. For the same reason, this recipe is using a silken tofu, but you can call it soft tofu as well

Tofu is a widely used ingredient in Korean cuisine. While crispy pan-fried tofu recipes use firm tofu, many of Korean soups and stews uses soft soft tofu in the recipe. See my doenjang jjigae recipe for the use of soft tofu.

On the other hand, Korean soft tofu stew (sundubu jjigae) uses silken tofu as a key ingredient. I shared another great soft tofu soup recipe in my cookbook, Korean Cooking Favorites.

How to Cook Soft Tofu Recipes (3 different ways)

If you prefer it to be warm, try one of the two ways below.

3 different method tare used to steam soft (silken) tofu in Korean cooking
  1. Microwave method: Take the tofu out of the package and gently place it on a microwave-safe plate. Warm it up for about 45 seconds in the microwave.
  2. Poaching method: Drop the entire unopened package of tofu in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Carefully open the package and slide the tofu out onto a serving dish. (If you are not comfortable with the plastic package in boiling water, use the microwave or steaming method instead)
  3. Steaming method: Bring a pot of water to boil with a steamer in it. Put a block of tofu on a heat-proof plate and place it on the steamer. Cover the pot with a lid and steam for 3-5 minutes.

How to make Korean Soft Tofu with Soy Chili Sauce (Microwave Method)

Korean soy chili sauce is combined in a small green bowl with a spoon.

Step 1. Make soy chili sauce: Mix all the soy chili sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

A block of silken (soft) tofu is placed on a plate.

Step 2. Cook in a microwave: Take the tofu out of package and place on a microwave safe dish. Heat it up for 45-60 seconds until hot.

A spoonful of chili soy sauce is drizzling over soft tofu on a green plate.

Step 3. Drizzle the soy chili sauce: Spoon the sauce over the entire block of tofu. Or slice the tofu into 2-4 pieces and place them on an individual dish, then drizzle the sauce over the tofu. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

This recipe was originally posted in October 2013. I’ve updated the recipe with minor changes, new photos, and more information.

Streamed silken tofu with Korean soy chili sauce is easy to spoon up

Quick Soft Tofu Recipe (Microwave)

This soft tofu (silken tofu) recipe takes only 5 minutes to prepare in a microwave. A slightly spicy Korean soy chili sauce adds umami in this light tofu dish.
5 from 5 ratings

Ingredients

Instructions 

  • To make soy chili sauce; mix all the soy chili sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
  • To steam the tofu, take the tofu out of the package and place on a microwave safe dish. Heat it up for 1-2 minutes until hot.
  • Drizzle the soy chili sauce over the entire block of tofu, or slice the tofu into 2-4 pieces and place them on an individual dish, then drizzle the sauce over the tofu. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Notes

Other method to steam soft tofu:
  • Poaching method: Drop the entire unopened package of tofu in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Carefully open the package and slide the tofu out onto a serving dish. (If you are not comfortable with the plastic package in boiling water, use the microwave or steaming method instead)
  • Steaming method: Bring a pot of water to boil with a steamer in it. Put a block of tofu on a heat-proof plate and place it on the steamer. Cover the pot with a lid and steam for 3-5 minutes.
Calories: 93kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 635mg, Potassium: 241mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 30IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 49mg, Iron: 1mg
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