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Spicy braised tofu recipe

Spicy braised tofu recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Cuisines
  • Asian
  • East Asian
  • Chinese
  • Sichuan

This is an incredibly mouth-watering Chinese dish. Blanched tofu is simmered in a spicy sauce with garlic shoots, then sprinkled with ground Sichuan peppercorns.

1 person made this

IngredientsMakes: 3 - 4 servings

  • 250g firm tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons chilli bean paste (toban djan)
  • 1 (2cm) piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • water as needed
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • salt to taste
  • 1 small bunch fresh garlic shoots, chopped into 3cm lengths
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour, mixed with 1 teaspoon water
  • ground Sichuan peppercorns to taste

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:15min ›Ready in:30min

  1. Blanch tofu in lightly salted boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a deep frying pan or wok. Stir-fry the chilli bean paste until fragrant. Add the ginger and chilli powder, stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the tofu and just enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, then add soy sauce, salt and garlic shoots. Gently stir. Lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Add the cornflour slurry and gently stir into the sauce until it has thickened. Garnish with ground Sichuan peppercorns and serve.


Dried Sichuan peppercorns, chilli bean paste and garlic shoots can be purchased in Chinese/Oriental speciality shops or online.

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Braised Tofu in a Spicy & Savory Sauce (두부조림)

Prepare the block of tofu for frying. First, rinse the tofu and dry off the excess liquid with a paper towel. We do this so the tofu fries better and doesn’t make oil pop up from the pan. After drying the tofu, cut it into rectangular pieces that are about 1 cm thick, and then set the pieces aside until we start frying them.

Which tofu to use

There are various block tofu types depending on how much water is pressed out of the tofu. Korean block tofu comes in 3 types &mdash firm (부침용), soft (찌개용), and silken (생식용).

Firm (부침용): This type of tofu is good for pan-frying. It holds up pretty well, so it&rsquos typically used for dubu jorim. However, the difference between the soft (찌개용) and firm is not huge in Korean tofu, so they can be interchangeable.

Soft (찌개용): Soft tofu is for stews such as kimchi jjigae and doenjang jjigae. This is probably equivalent to medium/regular tofu by non-Korean brands. Depending on the brand, it may be close to firm tofu.

Silken (생식용): Silken tofu is simply eaten fresh with a sauce, yangnyeomjang (양념장), or you can also boil it whole before serving. While the tofu is very smooth and soft, it can hold up its shape if handled carefully.

To make dubu jorim, you need to pan-fry the the tofu slices until lightly golden. Then, briefly braise them in a simple soy sauce-based sauce.

The gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes) adds a little spicy kick. You can certainly adjust to your taste by adding less or more. It&rsquos delicious, warm or cold. You&rsquoll find that the tofu tastes even better the next day.

Vegan Mapo Tofu (Braised Tofu in a Spicy+Savory Sauce)

This is inspired and adapted from Omnivore’s Cookbook Mapo Tofu recipe. It’s so easy, so delicious and loaded with spice and umami funk.

In the Beforetimes, I would usually go to H-Mart in Cambridge to grab things like Doubanjiang and Sichuan peppercorns, which are essential to this dish. While there, I would either visit a friend or explore some part of downtown and find some vegan place to eat at. I really miss doing that. To get these two things for this recipe, I just ordered them from amazon, from my home, in my daytime sweatpants. : (

Traditional Mapo Tofu uses ground beef or pork in the sauce, but I used minced fresh shiitakes here. You could probably also use crumbled tempeh (steam first).

Spicy Braised Tofu (Sofritas)

If you love Chipotle’s sofritas, you’ll adore this recipe. Spicy braised tofu that you can add to anything for instant Mexican food? Yes please!

We’ve put these sofritas in soft tacos, but you can use this recipe in many different dishes (we’ll cover those in the Variations section below.) You’ll be glad to have this one in your kitchen arsenal.

This recipe makes 6 soft tacos.

Ingredients for the sofritas filling

• 4 tablespoons canola, grape seed, olive, or avocado oil
• 8 medium cloves garlic, peeled and minced or pressed
• 1 large onion, diced
• 1 sweet pepper, any color, diced
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• A few grinds of black pepper
• 20 ounces of firm or extra-firm tofu
• 3 teaspoons chili powder
• 3 teaspoons cumin powder
• 2 teaspoons garlic powder (both fresh and dried garlic gives depth of flavor)
• 2 chipotle peppers (in sauce), diced, OR 6 tablespoons chipotle sauce
• 2 cups vegetable broth
• 1 cup red salsa

Ingredients for the soft tacos

• 6 soft tortillas (any kind)
• Plant-based (or other) sour cream
• Fresh green or red tomato salsa, or diced tomatoes and red onions
• Fresh cilantro
• Slices of jalapeno peppers
• Sliced fresh avocado, or guacamole
• Lime wedges

First, you’ll want to remove the excess water from your tofu. You can do this with a tofu press, or put your tofu on a plate and put another (weighted) plate on top. Either way, you want to get out as much water as possible so that your tofu absorbs the flavors of the spices and sauce.

Leave your tofu to drain (it will take about 15 minutes) while you heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and sweet pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes or till the veggies are lightly toasted.

Now turn the heat up to high and crumble the tofu into the pot with your hands. Cook (while stirring) for about 5 minutes. Add the dried spices (chili powder, cumin, garlic powder). Stir well to coat the tofu evenly.

Add the chipotle pepper or chipotle sauce, the broth, and salsa, stirring well. Reduce the heat to let everything simmer for 15 minutes. You can let it simmer for longer if you wish as long as it doesn’t dry out, as the tofu will absorb more flavors the longer it simmers. Stir the sofritas occasionally to keep the tofu from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

While the tofu simmers, prepare the toppings and heat the tortillas. In a large skillet or grill, let the tortillas warm for a minute or so on each side. Put the warmed tortillas in a basket wrapped in a clean cloth.
To serve your soft tacos, fill each tortilla with the sofritas and toppings.

Any leftover sofritas will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 to 4 months.

If you want a side dish for your sofritas, try serving them with refried beans or cooked rice.

Recipe variations

Tostadas. Preheat your oven to low broil and put the rack in the top slot. Brush each tortilla with oil and arrange them on a baking sheet. Broil for 2 minutes per side, watching them closely to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and add the sofritas and toppings.

Taco salad. Prepare a bed of lettuce and top with the sofritas and other toppings. You may want to add some shredded vegan cheese, too, or crispy onions.

Enchiladas. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Spread a layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish. Fill your corn or flour tortillas with the sofritas and put them in the casserole dish. Top with more enchilada sauce and (vegan) shredded cheese, then bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with toppings.

Nachos. Preheat your broiler to low, and put the rack in the top slot. Spread a bed of tortilla chips on a baking sheet, and top with sofritas. Add a layer of (vegan) shredded cheese, and broil for a few minutes till the cheese melts and the chips are slightly golden. Watch your nachos carefully to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and serve with toppings as usual.

As a baked potato topping. Sofritas add a special something to baked potatoes. Put a generous scoop of sofritas on top of each baked potato, and add the toppings.

Other Recipes You Might Like

There are many different types of tofu in the market and it can be very confusing if you are not familiar. Tofu comes in a plastic tub or package and the texture ranges from silken, soft, firm to extra firm.

Different brands have different varieties. I used firm tofu for the recipe as that&rsquos the texture you want and they turn softer and taste amazing after braising.

Step 1: Prep the tofu

Cut tofu into rectangles about a quarter of an inch thickness.

Step 2: Start stir-frying the onions

Grab a frying pan and place it on medium-high heat. Add a bit of olive oil to the pan once the pan is hot and stir fry onions until well done. Put cooked onions into a bowl and set aside for later.

Step 3: Brown the tofu slices

Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the same pan you just cooked the onions in, turn the stove back to medium heat, add tofu, and lightly brown the tofu on both sides. Continue browning the tofu pieces and set them aside for later.

Step 4: Make the braising sauce

Combine all the ingredients together needed to make the spicy braising sauce plus 3 tbsp of olive oil into a separate bowl and mix together well.

Step 4: Assemble the layers for braising

Now, let’s assemble the layers and get ready to braise. Add a thin layer of your cooked onions into a medium/large-sized pot. Then add a single layer of cooked tofu on top of the onions.

Grab a spoonful of sauce (made in step four), and add a thin layer on top of your cooked tofu and onions.

Add another thin layer of the onion. Then add a single layer of cooked tofu again, and add a thin layer of sauce again. Repeat this layering process until all onions, tofu, and sauce are used. If there is any sauce leftover, you can just drizzle it on top of the layers. Use up all the sauce for ultimate flavor.

Step 5: Add the sliced green onions/braise low & slow

Add the sliced green onions to the top of the pot of the layered onions and tofu. Place the pot on the stovetop, turn on the stovetop to low heat to simmer the tofu with the onions and sauce. Simmer together for about 15 minutes.

Step 6: Midway through the braising time flip the layers around

Check the layered tofu halfway and gently flip the top layer to the bottom of the pot for even cooking and so the sauce can soak into all the tofu pieces. Continue cooking until the sauce is 80% gone/reduced from the pan.

Step 7: Serve and enjoy!

We hope you enjoy this easy and delicious Korean Spicy Braised Tofu recipe!

Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!

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How to make pan-fried sriracha tofu - step by step

Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat, then cook tofu until browned on all sides.

Meanwhile, mix the sauce ingredients together in a bowl.

When the tofu is nicely browned, pour the sauce into the frying pan and lower the heat. Simmer the tofu until the sauce reduces, flipping the tofu over to coat both sides in the sauce.

Serve as is, on top of a rice bowl or inside some rice paper rolls.

Spicy braised tofu

Today’s recipe is dubu-jorim (spicy braised tofu). It’s tofu braised in a savory-spicy sauce and pan fried with caramelized onion, garlic, and green onions, making it juicy, a little spicy, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s a delicious side dish for rice, noodles or porridge, and tastes meaty even though it’s a totally vegetarian dish.

This is something you can easily put together in a short amount of time that will please pretty much everybody, and especially vegetarians. You can refrigerate any leftovers for up to 3 to 4 days! This dish is good hot or cold, so you don’t even need to heat it up again if you don’t want to, just bring it out and serve.

It’s also a standard in Korean dosirak (lunchbox) item because it keeps well until lunchtime and it gives any meal a little kick. Enjoy the recipe!


  • 1 package of tofu (18 ounces: 510 grams)
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 2 green onions, chopped

For the sauce, mix in a small bowl:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes
  • ½ cup water


  1. Rinse tofu in cold running water and dry it with cotton or paper towel. Cut it into ¼ inch thick bite size pieces.
  2. Add the cooking oil to a non-stick pan and heat it up over high heat.
  3. Gently set the tofu onto the pan and cook for 7 to 8 minutes. Rotate the pan to cook the tofu evenly. When the bottoms get a little crunchy, flip them over one by one with a spatula. Let cook another 7 to 8 minutes until both sides of each tofu piece are a little crispy and golden brown.
  4. Transfer the tofu to a plate. Keep the leftover oil.
  5. Heat up a small pan over medium high heat and add the leftover oil.
  6. Add chopped onion, garlic, and green onion (less 1 tablespoon, to be used for a garnish later). Stir with a wooden spoon for a few minutes until the onion gets a little crispy.
  7. Add the sauce and keep stirring until it reduces a bit and thickens.
  8. Add tofu and braise for a minute until the tofu absorbs some of the flavor of the sauce. Add some toasted sesame oil and stir.
  9. Sprinkle some sesame seeds over top and the rest of the chopped green onion. Serve right away with rice.