This spicy braised tofu is a variation of dubu jorim. Made with a generous amount of liquid, it’s like a stew with tender flavorful tofu.
Need another tofu dish? Dubu jorim (braised tofu) is a popular Korean side dish which is typically pan-fried and then braised in a soy sauce-based sauce. This spicy braised tofu doesn’t require pan-frying and uses a lot more liquid. It resembles a stew (jjigae, 찌개), but is not a jjigae as the term is used in Korean cuisine.
This dish is totally fine just with the onion and scallion, but I also used mushrooms and a chili pepper in this recipe. I sometimes add a little bit of thinly sliced Korean radish and spread in the bottom of the pot before adding the tofu.
For the liquid, I usually use anchovy broth. Dashima broth is a good option for a vegetarian dish, but water is fine too. If available, a little bit of salted shrimp (saeujeot) will give an extra boost of umami.
If you have access to perilla oil and perilla seeds, they are great in this dish, making the dish extra earthy and rustic. Perilla seed oil and seeds are distinctly nutty with a hint of minty flavor similar to that of perilla leaves and commonly used in country-style and temple cooking. I love and use them quite often in various dishes such as namul and stews. Simply use sesame oil and seeds if unavailable.
My daughter likes this version because she doesn’t have to pan fry the tofu, and it’s deliciously spicy. The slightly thickened, flavor packed braising liquid is so delicious mixed with steamed rice!
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Spicy Braised Tofu (Dubu Jorim)
- 1 package tofu 15 to 16 ounces
- 1 scallion
- 1/4 medium onion
- 2 to 3 mushroom caps - optional
- 1 small green or red chili pepper - optional
- 2 tablespoons gochugaru Korean red chili pepper flakes (use less for a milder dish)
- 1 teaspoon gochujang Korean red chili pepper paste
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons liquid from salted shrimp or use 1 more tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup or Korean oligodang or 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon garlic
- 1 cup water or anchovy broth or dashima broth - see note
- 2 tablespoons perilla oil or sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon ground perilla seeds or sesame seeds use more to taste
- Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch thick slices. You can further cut the slices in half crosswise if you like smaller slices. Slice the onion, scallion, and the optional mushrooms and chili pepper.
- Combine all of the braising liquid except the perilla oil (or sesame oil).
- Spread the onion slices at the bottom of a small pot. Arrange the tofu on top, and then pour the braising liquid over. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining vegetables, and drizzle the perilla oil (or sesame oil) over. Continue to boil for 5 more minutes. Sprinkle with the perilla or sesame seeds.
Dear Miss Hyosun, hello!
My whole family loves your recipes! Your cooking is very delicious and pretty simple to follow! Thank you so much for your recipes!
I wanted to ask if you could advise me what can I substitute gochugaru? I now live in Russia and I can’t find it anywhere… I have gochujang though! Will it work as a substitution?
Thank you so much!!!
Karen Middleton says
Do you use firm or silken tofu
Firm tofu is better for this dish.
I’ve always loved brothy dishes and this was just up my alley with the spice, flavour profile, and presentation! Just delicious, thanks so much for sharing this!
Rhona Sweeting says
This is so delicious!
I visited Korea last year and absolutely loved everything about it, but it can be a wee bit tricky for a vegetarian Westerner with minimal Korean language skills to navigate. I ate a lot of banchan!
감사합니다, Hyosun, for helping me to create wonderful meat-free Korean food.
I tried this recipe and it turned out nicely! Just wondering, are you using a particular kind of soy sauce? My braising liquid is significantly darker than yours!
Dear Hyosun, just wanted to let you know that I could not live without your recipes! I am a Russian Korean and having moved to Britain was struggling to even figure out correct names for the Korean ingredients in English! …and thank you so much for your tasty vegetarian recipes – they are so difficult to find!
Sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing.
PS: In The “Other Ingredients “ section the “1/4 sesame seeds” is missing its unit of measure. Is it 1/4 cup? Thank you.
Sorry about that! It’s teaspoon. Corrected. Thanks!
I have a bad reaction to onions so I’m wondering if there is some kind of substitute you could recommend? My system and onions don’t agree and they give me migraines. I love the look of this dish, and will give it a shot with some variations I think!
It’s fine to omit the onion. Enjoy!
Just made this – SO flavourful! I have a recipe book where only my very favourite recipes go, and I just put this one in there. Thanks Hyosun ^^
You’re welcome, Elizabeth! I’m so happy to hear it’s become one of your favorites. Happy cooking!
THX soooo much to you.. all the recipe that you share with us, is really amazing.. first i cook korean food first time, and i follow all your measurement and the recipes. and korean people that i serve really like the food that i make with your recipe..
Annyeong Haseyo! I’m a fan of yours from Philippines and Ive tried to do some of your recipes (the easy ones like Kimbap :)) But I just wanna try this recipe but Im just wondering if gochugaru is available at a any korean convenience store?
It should, but I’m sorry I’m not familiar with Korean convenient stores in Philippines.
Ajumma, thank you so much for teaching me how to make restaurant quality korean food. I made this last night and it was so tasty! I’m going to make it again tonight!
I’m with your daughter on this one – I love the fact that the tofu doesn’t require pan frying!!
This tasted awesome. And it was so quick to make 🙂
I added zucchini and radish.
Johnson Manjooran says