Recipe: Braised Tofu?


I found it difficult to name this dish because I don't know what the actual translation would be of the Korean word. For all your speakers out there this is my version of 두부 조림.

I took a sort of Japanese take on one of my favorite Korean side dishes. The process takes a while but it's not difficult at all. If you've never been a big fan of tofu then this is definitely the way to try it.

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Rest Time: 6 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
1 pack firm tofu
3 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp high quality soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic
1 green onion some reserved for garnish
a dash of toasted sesame oil
red pepper flakes or sriracha to taste

The reason this dish takes as long as it does is that you have to remove as much water from the tofu as possible. I do this by taking the whole block of tofu with paper towels on both sides and putting it between two cutting boards with a can of tomatoes on top for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

That's it for now, just let it rest and you can get the rest of the ingredients ready. Coursely chop up the garlic and makes little rounds with the green onion. Put the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and green onion along with 1 tablespoon of water into a small bowl and set it aside, you'll be using this later.

Remove the tofu and cut it in half making two blocks of tofu the same size as the original piece just half as thin. Now cut those in half width wise and making 4 smaller rectangles. Now cut those four pieces in half again making 8 pieces. Now cut along a diagonal making 16 triangles. Shoot me a message if that doesn't make sense. Pretty much just try to make the shape I have in the picture.

Now put the canola oil in a nice non stick pan or well seasoned cast iron and bring it up to heat on medium heat and drop in the tofu all on the same side. You may have to work in batches. Evenly brown all 5 sides of your triangles and remove the tofu onto a plate and let them cool to room temperature.


The last and final step is the part that I guess is like a quick braise. I know that's kind of an oxymoron but I just don't know what I'd call it. In a medium sauce pan make a layer of tofu with your fried tofu and spoon over your soy mixture from before. Now put another layer of fried tofu on top of that and spoon over some more of your soy mixture. Repeat this process until you've put all your tofu in the sauce pan and you have used up all your soy mixture. Now put the pan on the stove on medium heat and heat the tofu through spooning the mixture over top of the tofu from the bottom of the pan. 10 minutes later you'll have a nice salty/spicy tofu dish that'll be great with a side of rice and kimchee!

Hope you like the dish. It's a bit much for some tofu but I find pleasure in the dishes that take me a long time to make.
--Joe Kwon