Home » Dinner » Korean Gochujang Tofu

Korean Gochujang Tofu

Gochujang Tofu is not just any tofu dish; it’s a masterpiece of flavors that’ll make you go “Wow, this is the best tofu I’ve ever had!” 

The real star? Spicy Gochujang Sauce. This stuff has been a staple in Korean kitchens for centuries. It’s this rich, fermented chili paste that’s all about bold, spicy flavors.

They say it dates back to the 16th century when chili peppers first made their way to Korea. Talk about a long history! It’s like taking a bite of tradition with every spoonful.

I like serving this over a bed of fluffy white rice, but if you’re into brown rice, that works great too. It’s all about those rice bowls, right? Sprinkle on some sesame seeds, and boom – a simple, tasty meal that’s ready in no time.

Seriously, once you try this, you’ll see why it’s a staple in Korean cooking.

  • The extra firm tofu gets so wonderfully crispy in this recipe.
  • It’s so easy. Just a few steps: coat, fry, simmer, and you’ve got a meal that’s ready to enjoy. 
  • We’re tossing in cauliflower and red pepper, making this dish not just tasty but also packed with nutrients.
  • With a total cooking time of 35 minutes, this dish is quick to whip up, making it perfect for a weeknight dinner.
  • Love Korean cooking? This dish brings those flavors right to your table. It’s like making bibimbap at home but with a crispy twist.
  • It’s vegan, but don’t think it skimps on flavor. It’s loaded with savory and spicy tastes that’ll make you go, “Is this really vegan? Wow!”
  • When tofu is golden and crispy, it’s simply irresistible. The way we coat the tofu and then fry it up makes each bite a delightful crunch-fest!

Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes | Total Time: 35 minutes

  • 1 lb/450g firm tofu, drained and cut in 1”/2.5cm cubes
  • 2 tbsp/16g cornstarch
  • 2-3 tbsp/30-45ml neutral, high temp oil
  • 1 medium head/1 lb/450g cauliflower florets (4 cups)
  • 1 rib/50g celery rib
  • 1 medium/175g bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow)
  • 3 piece/45g scallion (green onions)

Sauce Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp/60g gochujang*
  • 3 tbsp/45ml soy sauce (tamari for gluten free)
  • 3 tbsp/45ml maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp/15ml rice vinegar
  • 1”/1 tbsp/15g fresh ginger, minced

To serve:

  • Cooked rice

1. Prepare the vegetables: Cut the cauliflower into small (1 – 1 1/2”/2.5-4cm) florets. Slice celery into 1/2”/12mm thick pieces. Cut the bell pepper into 1”/2.5cm squares.

2. Separate the green onions into white and light green portions and dark green leaves. Cut the white and light green portions into 1”/2.5cm sticks. Finely slice the dark green portions and set aside for garnishing.

3. Make the sauce: Peel and finely mince the ginger. Combine in a bowl and whisk together with rest of ingredients. Stir until smooth and set aside.

4. Fry the tofu: Make sure the tofu is well drained and patted dry. Toss with the corn starch until all pieces are well coated.

5. Add the oil to a large pan so that the entire bottom of the pan is covered 2mm deep. Heat over medium. Once hot, add the tofu. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the bottoms are crispy and golden brown and easily loosen from the pan. Flip over. Cook for 2-3 minutes before rotating so more sides become crispy. Once at least 2 sides of the tofu are crispy (more is optional but better), remove from pan and place on paper towel lined plate to drain. 

6. Pour off most of the oil. Add the cauliflower florets to the pan. Cook, stirring regularly, for 5-7 minutes until some brown spots start forming and the cauliflower is about half cooked. Add the celery and bell pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes until vegetables are just beginning to go soft on the edges.

7. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the sauce and the white and light green portions of the onions. Stand back as the sauce will steam up. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes until the vegetables can be pierced with a fork and the sauce is slightly reduced.

8. Remove from heat and add in the fried tofu. Toss to coat everything, garnish with reversed green onions, and serve immediately over rice. 

Notes *Many brands of gochujang contain wheat or other forms of gluten. If making gluten free, look for specifically gluten free brands.

🍲 Softer tofu – While we use extra firm tofu for that perfect crisp, don’t hesitate to try with medium-firm tofu for a different texture. Just remember, softer tofu won’t get as crispy but will still be delicious.

🍲 Broccoli or other veggies – Not a fan of cauliflower or bell pepper? No problem! Swap in some broccoli or any other veggies you like. This recipe is all about making it work for you.
🍲 Extra gochujang paste or sriracha – Love your food with an extra kick? Feel free to add some extra gochujang paste or even a bit of sriracha for that spicy food thrill. If spicy isn’t your thing, reduce the gochujang and enjoy a milder, yet still savory and spicy dish.

🍲 Red chili paste and fermented soybean paste – Can’t find gochujang? Mix some red chili paste with a little bit of fermented soybean paste. It’s not the same, but it’ll give you a similar sweet and spicy vibe.

🍲 Maple syrup or sugar – If your sauce ends up too spicy, don’t worry. Just add a little maple syrup or sugar to balance out the heat.

🍲 Rice wine – For a deeper flavor profile, try adding a splash of rice wine to the sauce. It adds a lovely depth and zing.

Looking for a gochujang substitute? Here are some top picks that will bring similar flavors to your Korean Gochujang Tofu dish:

  • Sriracha: This Thai hot sauce has a similar tangy taste and heat level but is much thinner in consistency. Use it as a 1:1 substitution for spicy food lovers.
  • Sambal Oelek: An Indonesian chili paste that’s close in taste and spice level to gochujang. Remember, traditional Sambal Oelek isn’t vegan, but there are vegan options available.
  • Thai Chili Paste (Red Pepper Flake Paste): It has a similar flavor to gochujang and is made from chili peppers, vinegar, and oil. Great for adding a sweet and spicy kick to your dish.
  • Miso Paste with Gochugaru: Mix miso paste with a few teaspoons of Gochugaru (Korean chili powder) and a dash of sugar syrup for a quick gochujang alternative. It’s perfect for simmering in a saucepan and adds a nice umami flavor.
  • Ssamjang (Korean Chili Sauce): A condiment made with doenjang, Gochugaru, garlic, green onion, sesame oil, and soy sauce. It’s strong in flavor and works well as a dipping sauce or in Korean-inspired dishes.

Remember: When using these substitutes, you might need to adjust the spice level and consistency. They won’t perfectly mimic gochujang but will give your dish a similar deliciousness.

Storing your Gochujang Tofu properly is key to enjoying its delicious flavors even after a day or two. Here’s how to keep your dish as tasty and crispy as when you first made it:

  • Let It Cool: Before storing, allow the Gochujang Tofu to cool down to room temperature. This prevents condensation inside the storage container, which can make the tofu soggy.
  • Separate Sauce and Tofu: If possible, store the sauce and tofu separately. This helps the tofu maintain its crispytexture. Simply reheat and combine them when you’re ready to enjoy the dish again.
  • Airtight Container: Use an airtight container to store the Gochujang Tofu in the refrigerator. This keeps out moisture and other flavors from the fridge. A good container also helps to remove excess air which can dry out the tofu.
  • Refrigerator Storage: Place the container in the refrigerator. The tofu should stay fresh and tasty for about 3-4 days. If you’ve made a large batch and wondering if it’ll last, the fridge is your best bet.
  • Reheating: When reheating, you might want to preheat your oven or skillet to medium-high heat. For the crispy tofu, it’s best to reheat it in the oven or an air fryer to help it stay crispy. If reheating in a skillet, you might need to add a little oil and stirring constantly to avoid burning.
  • Thickening the Sauce: If the sauce has thinned out in the fridge, you can thicken it again. Use a whisk to mix a small amount of corn starch and toss it into the saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until it reaches the desired thickness.
  • Adding Extra Sauce: If you’ve made it twice or have extra sauce, store it in a separate container in the refrigerator. It can be used as a marinade or a spicy addition to other dishes.
  • Freezing: While freezing isn’t recommended for maintaining the best texture of the tofu, it is possible. Freeze in an airtight container and thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Adjusting Spice Level: If you find the dish too spicy after reheating, you can always taste and adjust. Add a bit more syrup or a splash of water to reduce the heat.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

IS IT POSSIBLE TO BAKE THE TOFU INSTEAD OF FRYING?

Absolutely! For a healthier version, you can bake the tofu. Preheat your oven, coat the tofu in cornstarch, and bake until it’s crispy. This method is great for keeping the tofu crispy without using too much oil.

CAN I USE LEFTOVER TOFU AND SAUCE FOR OTHER DISHES?

Yes, leftover tofu and sauce can be creatively used in other dishes. Try adding them to stir-fries, rice bowls, or as a topping for noodles. Be sure to reheat them properly, either in a skillet or air fryer, to maintain their crispiness.

WHAT ARE SOME GOOD SIDE DISHES TO SERVE WITH GOCHUJANG TOFU?

Gochujang Tofu pairs well with a variety of sides. Steamed or fried rice, stir-fried vegetables, or a simple green salad can complement the dish. For a more traditional approach, serve it with Korean side dishes like kimchi or pickled radish.

WHAT IF I CAN’T FIND GOCHUJANG FOR THE RECIPE?

If you can’t find gochujang, you can use some of the substitutes mentioned earlier like sriracha or miso paste with a bit of added heat. These alternatives will still give you a delicious recipe with a balance of sweet and spicy flavors.

CAN I MAKE THIS DISH IN ADVANCE?

Yes, you can prepare the tofu in advance and store it in the fridge. When ready to serve, simply reheat in a skillet or air fryer to bring back its crispiness. The sauce can also be made ahead and warmed up when needed.

gochujang tofu recipe

Korean Gochujang Tofu

Craving some Korean flavor? Try Korean Gochujang Tofu! It's not just regular tofu – it's got a special spicy and saucy kick, and you can make it in just 35 minutes. Super easy and super tasty!
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 282kcal
Author: SHU-CHUN

Ingredients

  • 1 lb firm tofu drained and cut in 1”/2.5cm cubes
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 medium cauliflower florets (4 cups)
  • 1 rib celery rib
  • 1 medium bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow)
  • 3 piece scallion (green onions)

Sauce Ingredients

Instructions

  • 1. Prepare the vegetables: Cut the cauliflower into small (1 – 1 1/2”/2.5-4cm) florets. Slice celery into 1/2”/12mm thick pieces. Cut the bell pepper into 1”/2.5cm squares.
  • 2. Separate the green onions into white and light green portions and dark green leaves. Cut the white and light green portions into 1”/2.5cm sticks. Finely slice the dark green portions and set aside for garnishing.
  • 3. Make the sauce: Peel and finely mince the ginger. Combine in a bowl and whisk together with rest of ingredients. Stir until smooth and set aside.
  • 4. Fry the tofu: Make sure the tofu is well drained and patted dry. Toss with the corn starch until all pieces are well coated.
  • 5. Add the oil to a large pan so that the entire bottom of the pan is covered 2mm deep. Heat over medium. Once hot, add the tofu. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the bottoms are crispy and golden brown and easily loosen from the pan. Flip over. Cook for 2-3 minutes before rotating so more sides become crispy. Once at least 2 sides of the tofu are crispy (more is optional but better), remove from pan and place on paper towel lined plate to drain. 
  • 6. Pour off most of the oil. Add the cauliflower florets to the pan. Cook, stirring regularly, for 5-7 minutes until some brown spots start forming and the cauliflower is about half cooked. Add the celery and bell pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes until vegetables are just beginning to go soft on the edges.
  • 7. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the sauce and the white and light green portions of the onions. Stand back as the sauce will steam up. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes until the vegetables can be pierced with a fork and the sauce is slightly reduced.
  • 8. Remove from heat and add in the fried tofu. Toss to coat everything, garnish with reversed green onions, and serve immediately over rice. 

Notes

*Many brands of gochujang contain wheat or other forms of gluten. If making gluten free, look for specifically gluten free brands.

Nutrition

Serving: 1person | Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 768mg | Potassium: 227mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1054IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 174mg | Iron: 2mg | Net Carbohydrates: 23g

Sign Up to Joyful Dumplings!

Subscribe to our mailing list and join our community!

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Leave a Comment

Thanks for Your Feedback!

Recipe Rating