Crisp, golden slices of tofu served with a fiery Korean dipping sauce. Simple vegan Korean food.
One of my first recipes here on The Tofu Diaries was a vegan Korean recipe so I can’t believe I haven’t shared more with you all. The flavours in Korean food are so addictive, especially gochujang, the red pepper paste that gives so many Korean dishes their signature red colour. It is spicy, sweet and salty at the same time with a deep flavour you don’t usually find in a chili sauce. There is always a tub in my fridge, whether it is for making stews and soups or dipping sauces like this one.
Cooking Korean food fortunately doesn’t have to require a whole array of specialist ingredients; you can make many dishes with a fairly simple base set of ingredients. Many of the flavours come from soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil and red chili flakes that you may already have in the cupboard or, if you do need to buy them, they are incredibly versatile ingredients not only limited to Korean recipes. Dishes often call for dried seaweed or sesame seeds, which again can be used across other types of cuisine.
This dipping sauce is an ideal introduction to Korean flavours if you are not familiar with them, or a perfect way to indulge them with a quick and simple recipe. It is similar to the sauce in this recipe for Baked Linseed-Batter Mushrooms but the flavour of this one is a little more complex. To make the tofu crisp and dip-worthy, I wrapped it in kitchen paper and sat a couple of heavy books on top for a good hour or so. This resulted in a very firm texture, which works best for this dish, but pressing for half that time would also suffice.
For the tofu:
250g firm tofu, pressed for at least 30 minutes
1-2tbsp chickpea (gram) flour
1tbsp vegetable oil
For the dipping sauce:
1tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste, can be found here)
1tbsp soy sauce
1tbsp sesame oil
2tsp lemon juice
1/2tsp fresh ginger, crushed
1/2tsp brown sugar
1. Coat the tofu in the chickpea flour. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and fry the tofu for around five minutes, turning frequently, until it has turned golden on both sides. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
2. Whilst the tofu is frying, in a small bowl combine all of the sauce ingredients to form a thick, smooth sauce.
3. Serve as a tasty side dish or appetiser.
Fancy a peek at what else South Korea has to offer? Take a look at these travel posts for more inspiration!