Spicy Tofu

May 26, 2021

I have had the pleasure of working in a few Asian restaurants, and at each one, I learned a new aromatic, spice, or cooking technique.  While helping at a friend's Korean BBQ joint, I fell in love with gochugaru, aka Korean chili flake (now a staple in our home).  In this dish, I combine Korean flavors with a Mao Pao Tofu cooking technique, making for a quick, easy and comforting weeknight meal.

2-4 servings

1 cup vegetable broth

1 lb organic firm or extra firm tofu, cut into ½ inch to 1-inch cubes

¼ cup avocado oil

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced

2 teaspoons Korean chili flakes

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

2 tablespoons tamari

2 teaspoons coconut sugar

¼ cup cold water

1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch

½ cup scallions, sliced white and light green parts only


Scallions, leftover dark green parts

Sesame Seeds

In a large wok or frying pan, add veggie broth and tofu.  Bring to a simmer, allow to simmer for 2 minutes.  DO NOT BOIL; this will make your tofu chewy—separate tofu from broth set and set both aside.

In the same pan over medium-high heat, add avocado oil, ginger, and garlic.  Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.  Add chili flakes and sesame seeds.  Toast an additional one minute.  Bring heat to medium-low.  Add reserved broth, tamari, and coconut sugar.

In a separate bowl, add water and arrowroot, mix to make a slurry.  Add to sauce.  Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until sauce thickens.

Add blanched tofu and cook for 1 minute, stirring tofu into the sauce.  Add the scallions. Stir into tofu and sauce.  Turn off heat.

Serve with rice.  Garnish with scallion tops and sesame seeds.


Though this dish is vegan, feel free to add ½ pound of browned ground pork with the tofu if you are into that.

Substitute veggie broth with chicken broth or 1 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Substitute tamari with soy sauce or aminos

Korean chili flakes can be substituted with red pepper flakes.  It will taste different, but it’s still yummy this way.

If you don’t like spice, skip the chile flakes and substitute with ½ teaspoon black pepper.


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