korean marinated tofu (dubu buchim)

You really didn’t think I would leave you hanging with just a bowl of perfectly cooked rice? Sweet sticky rice is delicious and all, but it’s a blank canvas for flavors–and marinated tofu dripping with spicy dressing is exactly what it craves.


There is a good deal of water in tofu, and pressing some of it out will not only help with the browning but reduce splatter in the frying pan.


I am not a vegetarian if you haven’t noticed, but if I were, I think I would eat rice and marinated tofu everyday (or at least weekly). There is a certain meatiness with firm tofu, and once pan-fried, the crispy skin allows the tofu to stay intact when smothered with salty garlicky marinade. The inside of the tofu remains creamy, almost cheese-like, and you really end up with tofu that is incredibly satisfying.


This is a great make-ahead dish, and after a few days in the fridge the marinade will have soaked into the tofu even further. You won’t have a crispy shell anymore, but the creamy blocks of spicy tofu won’t disappoint.


That is, if you can resist not eating them the second you make them. Which is why, I always use two packages of tofu when I make this dish.


Eaten with rice…

marinaded tofu

marinaded tofu

or on a salad a few days later, it’s one to keep in your Korean-American repertoire.

marinaded tofu

marinaded tofu

korean marinated tofu (dubu buchim)

korean marinated tofu (dubu buchim)


  • 2 packages of firm or extra firm tofu (in plastic containers)
  • 2 finely sliced scallions
  • 1 minced large garlic clove (or 2 small)
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil plus extra for pan frying
  • 1/2 tbs sesame seeds
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs kochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
  • pinch of sugar


  1. Place tofu in a strainer or on an upside down flat plate. Place a tray under it to catch water.
  2. Weigh the tofu down with a heavy plate (not too heavy or tofu will fall apart).
  3. Make marinade while tofu is draining.
  4. Grind the sesame seeds. (Optional. You can leave seeds whole.)
  5. Combine sliced scallions, minced garlic, 2 tbs vegetable oil, 1/2 tbs sesame seeds, 3 tbs soy sauce, 1 tbs kochugaru, and a pinch of sugar in a bowl.
  6. After an hour, dry the tofu with paper towels by wrapping each block with a paper towel and gently squeezing, taking care not to break the tofu.
  7. Slice the block of tofu in approximately 5 mm thick slices (about 12 pieces per block of tofu).
  8. Dab each slice on a dry paper towel.
  9. Heat a frying pan on medium heat. Drizzle just enough oil to lightly cover the surface.
  10. Fry each side of the tofu for 1-2 minutes. Make sure a crust develops before flipping over. The tofu will detach from the pan easily once a crust develops.
  11. Place tofu down in one layer. Spoon a little marinade over each layer. Repeat for all the layers.
  12. Reserve extra marinade as a dipping sauce or to dress a salad of greens.
  13. Marinaded tofu can be eaten immediately or stored in a refrigerator for up to a week.

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1 Response

  1. Rosalie says:

    This was really good! I adjusted the recipe since I didn’t have the Korean chili flakes. Instead I used 1/2 tbsp of premade gochujang that I found at my local market in the Asian aisle. I don’t like things too spicy but I probably could’ve done 1tbsp. I also added some sesame oil to the marinade. I doubled the marinade recipe because my household likes to dip stuff and I was so glad I did. This was quickly eaten. So good and another super easy recipe. Thanks.

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