Gochujang tofu

By Wendy Andresen | Jun 18, 2020
Photo by: Wendy Andresen

Gochujang is one of the keystone ingredients of Korean cooking. It is a thick, sticky, fermented red chili paste that is highly concentrated and pungent and thus is usually combined with other ingredients to make a sauce or marinade.

If you’re a fan of spicy foods, you’ll have no trouble using up the rest of your gochujang in other dishes. We are never without a tub of it in our refrigerator. You can find some recipe ideas at loveandlemons.com/gochujang-sauce.

Here is a quick spicy meal you can easily put together in half an hour. We really liked the cooling side dish of napa slaw (see recipe for Jan. 17, 2020), which you can toss together while the tofu is simmering. Noodles or rice? Your choice, but I’m a fan of anything noodle-y.


1 pound extra-firm tofu, such as Heiwa

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

1 cup water

2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos

2 Tbsp. gochujang paste

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 large clove garlic, minced

3 scallions, both white and green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal

2 tsp. toasted white sesame seeds


1. Cut the tofu into eight rectangles or any other shape if you want to be fancy.

2. Heat a sauté pan and add the canola and sesame oils until a few drops of water splatter when tossed in the pan. Turn the heat to medium and add the tofu slices. Fry them on both sides until browned and slightly puffy.

3. While the tofu is cooking, whisk together the water, soy sauce, gochujang paste, sugar, white parts of the scallions and garlic in a small bowl.

4. When the tofu is browned, turn the heat to low and add the sauce mixture. Cook until the sauce is reduced, about 15 minutes, turning the tofu frequently.

5. Remove the tofu to a serving platter and garnish with the green parts of the sliced scallions and sesame seeds.

Wendy Andresen lives in Camden with her husband, Ray; her Sheltie, Sunshine; and her bunny, Cosi. She welcomes responses to her column at wendyandrayzer@yahoo.com.

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