Dubu jorim (두부조림) is a simple braised tofu dish. It’s a popular side dish everyone loves. Growing up as a child in Korea, this dish was one of the regulars in my home-packed school lunches (dosirak, 도시락), which usually consisted of rice and a few side dishes.
As is in most Asian countries, tofu (dubu) is a staple in Korea. You can find many dishes made with tofu as a main ingredient or one of the main ingredients — doenjang 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).
Which tofu to use
There are various block tofu types depending on how much water is pressed out of the tofu. Korean block tofu comes in 3 types — firm (부침용), soft (찌개용), and silken (생식용).
Firm (부침용): This type of tofu is good for pan-frying. It holds up pretty well, so it’s typically used for dubu jorim. However, the difference between the soft (찌개용) and firm is not huge in Korean tofu, so they can be interchangeable.
Soft (찌개용): Soft tofu is for stews such as kimchi jjigae and doenjang jjigae. This is probably equivalent to medium/regular tofu by non-Korean brands. Depending on the brand, it may be close to firm tofu.
Silken (생식용): Silken tofu is simply eaten fresh with a sauce, yangnyeomjang (양념장), or you can also boil it whole before serving. While the tofu is very smooth and soft, it can hold up its shape if handled carefully.
To make dubu jorim, you need to pan-fry the the tofu slices until lightly golden. Then, briefly braise them in a simple soy sauce-based sauce.
The gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes) adds a little spicy kick. You can certainly adjust to your taste by adding less or more. It’s delicious, warm or cold. You’ll find that the tofu tastes even better the next day.
More tofu recipes
Dubu Jorim (Braised Tofu)Side Dish
- 1 about 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, 고추가루)
- 1 teaspoon sesame seed
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 scallions (1 if large), finely chopped about 1/4 cup
- Cut the tofu block into 1/2-inch thick rectangular pieces. Pat dry with a paper towel.
- Prepare the sauce by mixing all ingredients together.
- 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).
- 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 to medium low heat. Flip them over, and simmer for another minute or two, spooning the sauce over the tofu pieces. Serve warm or cold with a bowl of rice.
This recipe was originally posted in March 2010. Here, I have updated it with new photos, more information and minor changes to the recipe.