traditional korean braised tofu

Have you ever had a delicious dish from a restaurant and wished, with all your might, that you could make it in your own kitchen whenever your {hungry} heart desired. We’ve all been there. This recipe is the epitome of that to me.

sliced tofu

This traditional Korean dish, which also goes by the name of Dubu Jorim, was first introduced to me not in a fancy well-regarded or 5-star restaurant, but rather, at my favorite local sushi spot.

And then repeatedly consumed once I discovered it in the prepared foods section of my favorite Asian supermarket H-Mart.

My attempt to discover the secret of the dish directly from the source–simply by asking the waitress to describe the ingredients and hoping that my clear adoration would woo her into sharing all of the details–was unsuccessful.

korean red pepper powder


Fast forward a few years later, many failed at-home attempts, and nearly giving up hope, I think I’ve finally figured it out!

My rough guideline as to how to put the dish together actually came from looking at the basic label on the prepared food container. That part was easy. The hard part came from experimenting and figuring out the right quantities of each ingredient.

seared tofu

The key lies in Korean red pepper powder, ground extremely fine, which adds heat and the main flavor profile behind the dish. You can find fine ground Korean red pepper powder in nearly every Asian supermarket. 

traditional korean braised tofu

Red pepper powder is used to make kimchi, so it tends to come in large quantities, but it is very affordable and can be used in such a wide variety of dishes.

traditional korean braised tofu

This recipe is very straight-forward. Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade and pour it over seared, pan-fried tofu, and allow the tofu to chill in the fridge for several hours to marinate and allow the flavors to develop.

The final product is mildly spicy, satisfyingly salty from soy sauce, and full of fresh flavor from lots of chopped scallions, a hint of lime, and toasted sesame seeds. 

So happy to share this dish with you all!

traditional korean braised tofu

Korean Braised Tofu

4.5 stars (6 ratings)
This traditional Korean tofu dish, which also goes by the name of Dubu Jorim, is mildly spicy, satisfyingly salty from soy sauce, and full of fresh flavor from lots of chopped scallions, a hint of lime, and toasted sesame seeds. Korean red pepper powder, ground extremely fine, adds heat and is main flavor profile behind the dish. Korean red pepper powder can be found in Asian grocery stores.


Marinade (yields roughly 2 cups)

  • ½ cup (120 mL) soy sauce
  • ¾ cup (180 mL) water
  • 1 tablespoon Korean fine red pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 cup finely sliced scallions
  • ½ teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


  • 2 (16 oz packages) firm tofu drained and sliced into ½-inch thick rectangles
  • canola or vegetable oil


  • Combine all the marinade ingredients in small bowl. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes, or while you prepare the tofu.
  • Drain and remove the tofu from package. Slice into rectangles, roughly ½-inch in thickness. Lay out a thick layer of paper towels or kitchen towel on your counter and place the tofu slices on top to absorb any excess water. You do not need to press tofu for this recipe.
  • Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add a thin layer of canola or vegetable oil. Once hot, add tofu pieces, spreading them out in the pan so they are not touching each other. The tofu should sizzle when it hits the pan. You will most likely need to do this step in batches, depending on the size of your skillet.
  • Sear tofu on each side for roughly 3 to 4 minutes, or until light brown on both sides. Remove and place on paper-towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Repeat until all the tofu pears are seared. Allow them to cool to room temperature.
  • Spread the tofu pieces on a baking dish or any other container with a large surface area (and relatively high sides), you can do this in two layers, if necessary. If layering the tofu, pour marinade over each layer. Pour over the marinade, cover, and refrigerate for roughly 6 to 8 hours, overnight preferably. Turn the tofu once or twice during this time, so that each piece gets marinated properly. Best served chilled by itself, or with steamed short-grain sushi rice.
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 140kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1103mg, Potassium: 45mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 1IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 7mg, Iron: 1mg