Dubu jorim is a one pot Korean braised tofu recipe that comes together in no more than 30 minutes. The versatility of this dish means it is ideal served alongside a simple plate of rice, with steamed or roasted greens, or as part of a tapas spread.
Western cooks understand the practice of pressing tofu in order to drain its excess liquid, thus ensuring the curd better absorbs its seasonings when cooked. A lesser known technique is to boil tofu (especially when intended for simmering or frying) in salted water. Adding water to tofu in order to dry it out seems counterintuitive, but the heat tightens protein structures, and this in turn causes the tofu to exude moisture.
Now think of why you press tofu in the first place. Theoretically you are coaxing moisture out of bean curd so it can absorb other flavours, rendering the above explanation relevant for braised tofu dishes. While the simmering broth may not penetrate to the absolute centre of the tofu in this recipe, you will find it goes beyond that achieved by a marinade (a technique long since proven to penetrate millilitres, if that, of the outer layers of proteins, hence marinating is typically a waste of time and resources).
One further point: The boiling process imparts a more durable consistency and, because of this structural change, boiled tofu can stand up better to more vigorous cooking methods like long simmering.
These methods are why this Korean braised tofu maintains textural integrity and even seasoning.
Vegan Dubu Jorim
Korean Braised Tofu Recipe
In Korean dubu means tofu, while jorim refers to the cooking process of braising. This is a very simple recipe that comes together in 20-30 minutes. Eat with steamed short grain rice and kimchi for a complete meal. Alternatively, leave it to cool and eat the tofu between buttered (vegan, of course) cheap white bread for a memorable sandwich experience.
- 325 grams firm tofu
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 75 millilitres (⅓ cup) water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons minced spring onion
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons gochugaru (Korean chilli powder)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- Sliced spring onion for garnish
- Cut the tofu into 1 centimetre (¼ inch) thick rectangles or squares.
- Find a frying pan large enough to hold all of the tofu pieces in a single layer. Add the vegetable and sesame oils to the saucepan and crank the heat up to high. Add the tofu and fry for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn the tofu pieces over and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the other side is golden brown.
- While the tofu is frying, mix the water, soy sauce, spring onion, sugar, gochugaru, garlic, and salt in a small bowl. Add this braising liquid to the pan with the tofu. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer, spooning the sauce over the tofu from time to time, until all of the liquid is absorbed by the bean curd (15-20 minutes).
- Remove tofu to a plate and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and spring onion.
- Author: Kip Dorrell
- Serves: 3-4, with rice
- Cuisine: Korean