A recipe for dubu jorim, a spicy Korean braised tofu

Spicy braised tofu (dubu jorim). PHOTO: KOREAN BAPSANG / THE KOREA HERALD

(THE KOREAN HERALD / ANN) - Dubu jorim (braised tofu) is a popular Korean side dish which is typically pan-fried and then braised in a spicy sauce. This braised tofu does not require pan-frying and uses a lot more liquid. It resembles a stew (jjigae), but is actually not a jjigae as the term is used in Korean cuisine.

This dish is totally fine just with the onion and scallion, but this recipe also uses mushrooms and a chilli pepper. You can also add a little bit of thinly sliced Korean radish to the bottom of the pot before adding the tofu.

For the liquid, I usually use anchovy broth. Dashima broth is a good option for a vegetarian dish, but water works well too. If available, a little bit of salted shrimp (saeujeot) will give an extra boost of umami. The perilla oil, which is distinctly nutty with a hint of minty flavour similar to that of perilla leaves, makes this dish extra earthy and rustic.

Dubu jorim

1 packet of tofu (about 400g)
1 scallion
½ a medium onion
2 to 3 small king mushrooms
1 small green or red chili pepper
2 Tbs gochugaru, Korean red chilli pepper flakes
1 tsp gochujang, Korean red chilli pepper paste
2 Tbs soya sauce
2 tsp liquid salted shrimp (or use 1 more Tbs soy sauce)
1 Tbs corn syrup or oligodang (or ½ Tbs sugar)
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 cup water or anchovy broth
2 Tbs perilla seed oil or sesame oil
¼ tsp sesame seeds

1. Cut the tofu into 1.5-centimeter thick slices. You can further cut the slices in half crosswise if you like smaller slices. Slice the onion, scallion, mushrooms and chili pepper.
2. Combine all of the braising liquid except the perilla oil (or sesame oil).
3. Spread the onion slices at the bottom of a small pot. Arrange the tofu on top, and then pour the braising liquid over. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for about 5 minutes.
4. Add the remaining vegetables, and drizzle the perilla oil (or sesame oil) over. Continue to boil for 5 more minutes. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

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