Tofu (dubu) is a staple in Korea as it is in several other Asian countries. Many Korean dishes are made with tofu as a main ingredient like dubu jjigae (stew), sundubu jjigae, dubu with stir-fried kimchi, and dubu jorim to name a few. It's also commonly used to complement other dishes like kimchi jjigae, bukeo guk (dried pollack soup) and mandu (dumplings).
Dubu jorim is a popular side dish. Growing up as a child in Korea, this dish was one of the regulars in my home-packed school lunches (dosirak/bento) which usually consisted of rice and a few side dishes. The tofu is pan fried and then braised in a soy sauce-based sauce, transforming the tofu into a flavorful side dish. The gochugaru adds a little spicy kick. Add more if you like more heat. It’s delicious, warm or cold. You’ll find that the tofu tastes even better the next day.
1 18-oz pack firm tofu
1 tablespoon vegetable/canola oil
For the sauce:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 teaspoon sesame seed
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
2 scallions, finely chopped
Cut the tofu block into 1/2-inch thick rectangular pieces. Pat dry with a paper towel.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick skillet, carefully add the tofu pieces (tofu breaks easily) and sear over medium to medium high heat until lightly golden brown (about 3 - 4 minutes each side).
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by mixing all ingredients together. Spoon the sauce over the tofu pieces. Slightly lift a side of the tofu pieces to get the sauce under them. Simmer for 3 - 4 minutes over medium low heat. Flip them over and simmer for another minute or two. Serve warm or cold with a bowl of rice.