Spicy Korean Tofu: A Nod to Asia

I haven’t had much time to cook recently, with my book deadline looming.

But one does have to eat. So recently, when I found myself having to take a quick break from writing to prep a dish for a potluck party at The Studios of Key West, I turned to an old reliable: Spicy Korean tofu.

This dish is so easy (and delicious) that I find myself making it sometimes as often as once a week. Each tofu bite is packed with the intense swirl of garlic, chili flakes, nutty sesame oil and more — it’s terrific on its own but even better over hot white rice.

Every time I’ve made it, people ask for the recipe — so when my Let’s Lunch crew decided to make a dish that honors Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month for our May virtual lunch date, I decided it was time to share it …

Now, I can’t take credit for this recipe — like many of my best dishes, it’s something I learned from Maangchi. (If you aren’t already reading her blog and watching her adorable videos, you simply must.)

In the meantime, here’s her lovely recipe below, with one slight tweak I’ve made. Happy Asian American heritage month and enjoy…


Don’t forget to check out other Let’s Lunchers’ Asian dishes below! And if you’d like to join Let’s Lunch, go to Twitter and post a message with the hashtag #Letslunch — or, post a comment below.

Annemarie‘s Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps at Sandwich Surprise

Emma‘s Korean Barbecue at Dreaming of Pots and Pans

Grace‘s Mom’s Stir-Frying Tips at HapaMama

Karen‘s Non-Traditional Wonton Soup at GeoFooding

Linda‘s Savory Steamed Rice Cake at Spicebox Travels 

Lisa‘s Sesame Eggplant & Noodle Salad at Monday Morning Cooking Club

Lucy‘s Chinese Chicken Salad at A Cook and Her Books


Spicy Korean Tofu

(Recipe from Maangchi, slightly tweaked below)


  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (or honey)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil, plus 1 tablespoon for frying
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 10 oz. tofu


Slice the tofu into bite size pieces (¼ inch-thick rectangles) then dry off each piece with a paper towel. If you’d like your tofu a little crisper, lay the tofu slices on paper towels for 15 to 30 minutes before frying.

Heat pan with one tablespoon of vegetable or corn oil and one tablespoon of sesame oil. When oil is super hot, fry the tofu slices until each side is browned and crisp.

Arrange tofu on a plate, mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and drizzle over the fried tofu. Serve immediately with rice.


13 thoughts on “Spicy Korean Tofu: A Nod to Asia

  1. Pingback: Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps with Kimchi Chips and Fried Rice | sandwich surprise!

  2. oh, I love tofu and the spicier the better. What kind of tofu do you prefer on the firmness scale? I have become addicted to homemade agadashi and find that the soft tastes better but is much more challenging to work with.

    • For frying, definitely firm or extra firm but I do love the milky softness of fresh tofu scooped out of a wooden bucket…

  3. Pingback: A Taste of Tainan, Taiwan– with a Recipe for Wa Guei (Savory Steamed Rice Cake) | spicebox travels

  4. OMGoodness…Maangchi and Key West mentioned in connection with this recipe just means that the universe has challenged me to try same….thank you for posting…like Nanina…can’t wait to try…and will envision memories of sunset, while living aboard a sailboat, docked in Key West Bight, many, many, moons ago – whilst I devour the lovely tofu!!! Blessings ?

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