This Vegan Braised Gochujang Korean Tofu is spicy, savory, and full of flavor. The tofu is sliced and crisped up in the pan before being braised in a spicy sauce of gochujang, low-sodium soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. It's simple but doesn't lack flavor!
Quick, easy, and inspired by the traditional Korean dish Dubu Jorim– this spicy Korean braised tofu dish will be your new favorite dinner! It makes for great leftovers as well and can even be served cold.
This delicious recipe has been on my blog for a while but has been updated with new photos and more information- the recipe that follows is the exact same!
What is Gochujang Paste?
Gochujang is a thick deep red paste made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, salt, and usually garlic and some form of sweetener that is used in Korean cooking.
This delicious spicy paste originates in Korea- it holds a lot of heat from the chili but has hints of sweetness and an umami flavor from the soybeans and is traditionally used in popular Korean recipes like bibimbap and tteokbokki.
Gochujang can be found at your local Asian market. It can also be found in most grocery stores and is now at Trader Joe's as well.
This gochujang tofu dish was inspired by the Korean dish Dubu Jorim.
Simple, wonderful ingredients are mixed together to create the most flavorful spicy gochujang tofu dinner! You're going to love this Korean-inspired dish.
- Extra-Firm Tofu
- Gochujang Paste
- Fresh Ginger
- Garlic Cloves
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- Extra Firm Tofu: Extra-firm works best for this recipe but you can also use firm. You'll still need to press the tofu regardless.
- Gochujang Paste: The star of our sauce! Gochujang is a Korean chili paste that brings flavor and spice.
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce: Low sodium is best. Use low sodium tamari if you're gluten-free.
- Ginger & Garlic: Fresh ginger and garlic as well as onion and red chili are minced and added to the tofu to soften and get a bit browned- this brings tons of flavor to the gochujang spicy sauce so I really recommend it.
How to Make This Recipe
Press the tofu for at least 15 to 20 minutes. You can wrap it in paper towels and stack something heavy over the top to remove the excess liquid or use a store-bought tofu press. I recommend and love the one from Tofuture.
Then, cut the tofu into 8 squares. If you prefer, you can cut the tofu into rectangles, small cubes, or triangles. Whatever shape you like- it doesn't matter.
Whisk together the cornstarch with a pinch of salt and black pepper in a shallow bowl. Lightly coat each piece of tofu in the cornstarch.
Heat a large frying pan on medium heat with the cooking oil. Just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Once hot, add the cornstarch-coated tofu and fry until golden brown and crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side.
Mince the onion, ginger, garlic, and red chili- then, add to the pan with the tofu and cook for a few minutes until starting to soften. If you're sensitive to spice, feel free to leave out the red chili.
Whisk together the sauce ingredients,
Pour over the tofu.
Cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat or until the sauce has reduced. If you want it less reduced, you can simmer it for less time or if you want a more sticky sauce, continue to cook for a few minutes.
Serve over jasmine rice and top with green onions and sesame seeds.
Tips & Tricks
Press the tofu! Pressing the tofu ahead of time creates a much more flavorful tofu dish. If you don't press the tofu, it will get pretty soggy. Use a DIY tofu press or a store-bought tofu press and remove the excess water- it only needs to be pressed for about 15 minutes.
Save time: This Korean tofu recipe comes together in about 35 minutes but you can shed a few minutes off the prep time by pressing the tofu ahead of time or making sure you properly utilize that time.
While the tofu is pressing, mince the onion as well as the garlic, ginger, and red chili.
I also recommend whisking together the sauce during this time. This will make the cooking process faster and smoother!
Substitutions & Additions
Make this spicy Korean tofu your own! Less spicy? Gluten-free? You can substitute and add whatever you'd like. Here are a few of my suggestions:
Make it gluten-free: Check the ingredients of your gochujang paste to make sure it's gluten-free. Some brands are but most aren't. You'll also need to use gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce.
Make it less spicy: Gochujang not only adds spice but flavor. This dish isn't overly spicy but if you're sensitive to spice, leave out the extra red chili. If that's still too spicy, you can use one tablespoon of gochujang paste instead of two.
Without cornstarch: Simply sprinkle the tofu with salt and pepper and leave off the cornstarch.
Extra-Firm Tofu: I've made this dish with firm and medium firm. They work just as good as extra-firm does but you do need to be a little more delicate with them since they are softer than extra firm. With that being said, I do not recommend silken tofu or soft tofu- those won't hold up in this recipe.
Organic Cane Sugar: This recipe can be made with brown sugar as well as maple syrup or agave syrup.
This Korean tofu dish can be served as a main dish or side dish. It is best served over jasmine rice and garnished with scallions and sesame seeds. It is wonderful paired with side dishes like sautéed broccoli, bok choy, or red bell peppers as well.
Storage & Reheating
Storage: Allow the leftover gochujang tofu to cool completely then transfer to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Reheating: Reheat the leftovers on the stovetop over low heat or in the microwave. This dish can also be served cold.
Freezing: Freezing can change the texture of the tofu so I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, reheat or serve cold. This dish makes for great leftovers.
Nope! The spicy tofu recipe isn’t marinated and doesn’t need to be. It’s crisped in the pan and then braised in a flavorful sauce—no need to marinade it beforehand.
Most gochujang pastes are not gluten-free but you can find it be made gluten-free by certain brands- make sure to check out the ingredients.
Most of the time, yes! Check the ingredients to make sure for the specific brand you're purchasing but in most cases- it is vegan-friendly!
No, the tofu in this dish is not crispy nor is it supposed to be. It is braised in a sauce which makes the tofu soft and flavorful. But it's not crispy! If you want a crispy texture, simmer the sauce separately and use it as a dipping sauce.
More Tofu Recipes You’ll Love:
Braised Gochujang Korean Tofu
- 1 Block Extra-Firm Tofu pressed
- 2-3 tablespoons Cornstarch
- Pinch of Salt
- Pinch of Black Pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil for cooking
- ¼ cup Yellow Onion minced
- 1 tablespoon Ginger minced
- 2 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 Red Chili thinly sliced
Spicy Gochujang Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons Gochujang Paste
- 2 tablespoons Organic Cane Sugar or brown sugar
- ¼ cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- ½ cup Water
- 2 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Rice Cooking Wine
- 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
- Scallions garnish
- Press the tofu for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Then, cut the tofu in to 8 squares.
- Whisk together the cornstarch with a pinch of salt and black pepper in a shallow bowl. Lightly coat each piece of tofu in the cornstarch.
- Heat a large frying pan on medium heat with the cooking oil. Just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Once hot, add the cornstarch-coated tofu and fry until golden and crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side.
- Mince the onion, ginger, garlic and red chili- then, add to the pan with the tofu and cook for a few minutes until starting to soften.
- Whisk together the sauce ingredients and pour over the tofu. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced.
- Serve over jasmine rice and top with scallions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
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This turned out so, so, so good! And it was pretty fast to make too. I mixed in some quinoa and spinach with the sauce and tofu - yum! Thank you for the recipe!
Quinoa and spinach are wonderful additions!! So happy you enjoyed it! 🙂
This excellent. Ordered vegetables in garlic sauce at a local place and made this for our protein! So darn good!
Yum! So glad you enjoyed 🙂
This is my go to recipe when I have a busy working week as it can be refrigerated and heated up. It’s simple to make, delicious goes great with veg. In fact it I very rarely get the chance to have it for more than one meal as it goes a treat even with non vegans 😃😃😃
That's so nice to hear!! This dish is one of my favorites too. Leftovers are rare in my house! 🙂