I found this dish through Maangchi, a Korean food YouTuber, and knew I had to try and make it. This recipe is my take on her’s, however I added a little vinegar for acidity and rice syrup for a sticky sweet finish that makes this tofu so addicting.
Perfect served on its own for a quick snack, or with steamed vegetables and rice as a light meal, this recipe is (somewhat) healthy and very satisfying. I usually make it as a meatless meal during the week.
The key is to fry the tofu until it creates a skin that is dry and crispy. Try to not flip it until it is ready – all you need to do is set it down and let it go. If you have a little time you can further dry the tofu out in advance by taking the block out of its packaging, wrapping it in a paper towel, and pressing it down with a weight (I like putting cans on top of a plate) for 20 minutes.
Spicy Sticky Fried Tofu
Makes 2 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes
- 1 block firm tofu
- 1 tbs vegetable oil for frying
- 2 tbs gochujang, Korean red pepper paste
- 2 tbs sake
- 1 tbs soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbs brown rice syrup, easily found at the Korean grocery store, or honey
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 tsp sesame seeds for garnish, I used a mix of black and white
Step 1: Drain and pat the tofu dry with a paper towel. Cut into 1 cm thick blocks.
Step 2: Heat frying pan on medium high. Add frying oil. When oil is hot (you can test by sprinkling water on the pan – it’s ready when the water sizzles immediately upon contact) add tofu in single layer and shake pan to distribute the cooking oil under the tofu.
Step 3: Cook the tofu for about 10 minutes. Try not to flip them until they start to develop a crispy skin. Check the tofu on the sides and middle of the pan and make sure all pieces are cooking evenly. Reduce heat if needed if tofu is starting to burn.
When all pieces are evenly toasted and golden brown on one side, flip them and cook the other side.
Step 4: While the tofu is cooking, make the sauce. Start with the gochujang and gradually thin it out with the sake. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice syrup, and vinegar.
Step 5: When both sides of the tofu are crispy and golden brown, add the sauce. Reduce the sauce for a couple minutes while coating it on the tofu. When the sauce is thick and syrupy, everything is ready.
Step 6: Serve warm, sprinkled with sesame seeds and chopped green onion.