Recipe: Dubu Jorim - Soy-braised Tofu


This recipe for dubu jorim, or soy-braised tofu, is one of our staples. Extra savory with a tiny pinch of sweetness, this dish is a hit with all of our friends, from the carnivores to the vegans.

Dubu jorim is usually served as small, rectangular slabs of tofu, but we like to cut those traditional slabs into skinnier “batons” so that there’s more lightly crispy surface area for the delicious, soy-based sauce to soak in. We also borrowed a tofu cooking technique from Adam’s hippie parents, who often press the excess water out of their tofu so that it cooks up with a nice, subtle crisp on the outside and a tender inside.

This recipe was adapted from Bap Story, a now-dormant blog that shared the most classic, easy-to-follow Korean recipes that taste just like an ajumma’s home cooking. Hannah was tipped off to this beautifully minimalist blog by a friend when she was living in Korea, and she found that its recipes matched her palate perfectly. She’s relied on Bap Story’s recipes for years (the kimchi jjigae and kimchi bokkeumbap are excellent!), and we wish they were still updating!

Serves four as a side dish, or two very hungry eaters as a main protein.
Ingredients for sauce:
4 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
½ teaspoon of gochugaru
2 teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds
½ tablespoon of honey (or agave if you're cooking vegan)
½ tablespoon of sugar
4 tablespoon of chopped scallions
½ tablespoon of soju or mirin
1 tablespoon of water
½ tablespoon of rice vinegar
½ teaspoon of sesame oil

Other ingredients:
1 package of firm or extra-firm tofu (14 oz.)
3 tablespoons of cornstarch
3 tablespoons of flour
2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil
Extra scallion slices and toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Open up the package of tofu, drain it, and pat the block dry with a paper towel. Wrap the tofu in a dry paper towel or a clean kitchen towel so that it’s completely covered. Place the wrapped tofu on a plate, then place another upside-down plate on top so that the tofu is sandwiched between the two plates. Put the plates in the fridge with something on top to press the tofu (we usually use a box of almond milk). The idea is to squeeze as much excess water out of the tofu as possible! Set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together in a bowl. Set aside.

tofu 4.jpg

Mix the cornstarch and flour on a plate or in a shallow bowl. This is going to be your dredge.

Take the tofu out and pat it dry one last time. This will help it crisp up even better.

Slice the block in half lengthwise, then cut into ½-inch rectangular slices. Then cut each slice lengthwise in halves or thirds, so you end up with “batons” of tofu.

We like cutting the tofu into long, thinner pieces because that means more surface area for the crispy dredge and savory soy sauce to cling to.

Dredge the batons in the flour-cornstarch mixture, and shake off the excess. You don’t want too much loose flour in the pan, because it’ll burn and turn your oil murky.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat for about 30 seconds. When it’s hot, add enough cooking oil so that it covers the bottom of the pan. When the oil is shimmery-hot, add the tofu pieces.

Let them cook for about 2-3 minutes until the bottoms are golden-brown. Then turn each piece of tofu on its side to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Repeat until all four sides of each piece of tofu are golden brown.

A large set of kitchen tweezers are great for this task. If the bottom of the pan looks too dry, add another glug of oil. If you find that some pieces of tofu are done on all four sides before others, transfer them to a plate lined with a paper towel.

tofu 5.jpg

Once all the pieces of tofu are golden-brown on all four sides, add them all back to the pan. No need to drain out the excess oil or wipe out the pan, unless it's looking especially murky. Dump your pre-mixed sauce over all of the tofu. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has thickened into a delicious sauce.

Transfer to a serving vessel, making sure to scrape out all the saucy goodness from the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. Sprinkle the tofu with a few more scallion slices and sesame seeds, and serve hot with rice and banchan. Enjoy!

Thank you to Jeana Sohn for allowing us to adapt your recipe!