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. They are 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!
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.