I’m not vegan, but I’m always super excited when I manage to make something that is. Maybe because:
A) For some reason I perceive veganism as super difficult and exotic.
B) Any time I can cut down on meat I feel like my meal is a lot healthier.
C) So many vegan and vegetarian recipes suffer from a lack of umami (the savory flavor), so I’m really happy when I find one that’s delicious and well balanced flavorwise.
So basically I felt like a super hero that just ate something really delicious after making this recipe. And guess what? It was actually really easy!
This is a spicy Korean sauce with a little bit of sweetness. Serve it with rice and a variety of Korean side dishes like bean sprout namul or takuan/danmuji (the yellow pickle).
Serves 2, 25 minutes
400 grams (14 oz. or 1 large block) firm tofu
1 1/2 Tbs (22 ml) Cornstarch
Oil for frying
For the Sauce:
2 Tbs (30 ml) Garlic, minced
4 Tbs (60 ml) Gochujang
2 Tbs (30 ml) Sesame oil
4 Tbs (60 ml) Soy sauce
2 Tbs (60 ml) Sugar (used 1 part white sugar to 3 parts raw sugar, but use whatever you want)
1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) Apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup plus (or a large handful) green onions, sliced
1/4 cup (60 ml) sesame seeds (optional)
Step One: Press your tofu between some paper towels for 5 minutes to a half hour. Cut into desired size (I cut mine into 1 cm cubes) and dry with a paper towel. In a large container toss the tofu with the cornstarch until all pieces are lightly coated.
Step Two: Depending on how fast you are in the kitchen, you can do this while doing step three. Combine all sauce ingredients except water together in a clean saucepan. Add the water a few tablespoons at a time until you have a thick sauce consistency to your liking (I used about 1/4 cup of water).
Step Three: Heat oil in a large pan. It doesn’t need to be super deep, but enough that you can fry each side of the tofu pieces in it. Test a small piece of tofu before putting all of them in. The oil should immediately start sizzling and bubbling when the tofu touches. If not, let the oil heat up some more. Add all of the tofu to the oil and fry each side until it’s a very light golden beige (approximately 2 minutes per side). To me, it looks just a little bit lighter than a chicken nugget. Remove tofu to paper towels to drain and blot off any excess oil.
Step Four: Heat the sauce until it bubbles. Immediately combine sauce with tofu and serve immediately. This recipe makes a lot of sauce, so I would combine a little at a time until you’ve reached your desired “sauciness” level.
Thanks to the bloggers out there with all the different versions of this recipe that inspired this one. Especially Food52’s Gochujang Tofu with Scallions which mine is heavily based on.
If this were an academic paper with a “further work” section: Make a sandwich with this tofu!