An often misunderstood food is tofu but I’d you ever try it in Asia, you’ll know it’s so much more than a meat substitute and in fact deserves its own standing in the culinary world.

The one basic mistake I see people make is to trust supermarkets to offer decent enough tofu. Let me tell you, apart from Ocado’s House Premium brand tofu, not a single brand of tofu I’ve ever seen in any major supermarkets came close to being what I’d consider real tofu.

Source: Ocado

It’s mainly the texture, it’s super dry and hard and that’s just not what the tofu is like in most parts of Asia. For comparison, firm Asian tofu should have a similar consistency to eggs when they’re scrambled. Sort of light, airy, spongy almost.

So if you ever want to cook any Asian recipes calling for tofu, I highly recommend visiting your local Asian supermarket. You want in most cases either medium or firm tofu. There is also soft tofu, called Soondubu in Korea which is the incredibly soft, fall apart kind. Now THAT you can find in shops, it’s the type that sits in the shelf and is called silken tofu. It’s a good substitute to Soondubu.

Anyway! This recipe is a really easy one to make and is so flavourful it could be both great as a main over rice or as a side.

Recipe for 2 or 1 hungry person

– 200g medium or firm tofu (about half a pack of most tofu brands)
– 3 tbs soy sauce
– 1 tsp sugar
– 3 cloves of garlic minced
– 2 stalks of spring onion finely chopped
– 3 tbs water
– 1 tsp sesame oil
– 2 tsp gochugaru or your choice of chilli flakes
– Sesame seeds

Drain and pat tofu dry. Cut tofu into fairly thick slices, about 1/2 inch.
Fry the slices in some oil in a large pan that fits a lid.
Meanwhile mix the rest of the ingredients together apart from sesame seeds.
Once tofu is golden on both sides, turn the temp to low. Add the sauce and immediately cover the pan.
Let it simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5-10 mins, make sure you keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn!
Once there’s just a small amount of liquid left, turn off the heat and serve with rice.
Add some fresh spring onion on top as well as sesame seeds.

About the Author


Cardiff-based home cook sharing authentic Korean recipes with anyone who is curious about Korean culture and flavours.

View All Articles