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…
or on a salad a few days later, it’s one to keep in your Korean-American repertoire.
- 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
- Place tofu in a strainer or on an upside down flat plate. Place a tray under it to catch water.
- Weigh the tofu down with a heavy plate (not too heavy or tofu will fall apart).
- Make marinade while tofu is draining.
- Grind the sesame seeds. (Optional. You can leave seeds whole.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Slice the block of tofu in approximately 5 mm thick slices (about 12 pieces per block of tofu).
- Dab each slice on a dry paper towel.
- Heat a frying pan on medium heat. Drizzle just enough oil to lightly cover the surface.
- 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.
- Place tofu down in one layer. Spoon a little marinade over each layer. Repeat for all the layers.
- Reserve extra marinade as a dipping sauce or to dress a salad of greens.
- Marinaded tofu can be eaten immediately or stored in a refrigerator for up to a week.