Dubu buchim yangnyumjang is one of my favourite Korean side dishes. It is super easy to make, vegan, and tastes heavenly. It consists of pan-fried dubu (tofu) pieces topped with a delicious soy sauce that is sweet, savoury, and spicy at the same time. Dubu buchim yangnyumjang is great as a rice accompaniment, bento filler, or just on its own. It is also great for those who have never tried tofu.
As always, I take extra care to make mine healthier than the traditional/conventional versions, and I try to use pantry-friendly ingredients. For instance, I swapped Korean chilli flakes used in conventional recipes, for cayenne pepper and crushed chillies, and sugar for agave nectar. Here is my recipe.
Ingredients (makes 12 pieces, serves 2-4):
- 1 box of firm tofu, drained well and patted dry
- 1 tsp of canola/rapeseed oil
- 1 tsp of sesame oil
- a handful of spring onions/scallions, chopped
- 5 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1 tsp of sesame oil
- 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
- 1 tsp of cayenne pepper (reduce or omit depending on preference)
- 2 tsp of crushed chillies (reduce or omit depending on preference)
- 1 1/2 tsp of agave nectar or honey
- 1 tsp of mixed seeds – Only white sesame is used in conventional recipes but I thought I’d go a bit further by using a mix of pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, flax, and sesame seeds, as I like the mouthfeel better and the added crunch.
1. In a heated skillet, toast mixed seeds and set aside.
2. Cut tofu into cuboids as per diagram below. Quarter it first, then cut the quarters into 12 pieces.
3. Pour canola oil and 1 tsp of sesame oil into the skillet heated on medium heat. Using a paper towel, spread the oil to coat skillet evenly and to absorb excess oil.
4. Gently place tofu cuboids in skillet and let them shallow-fry for about 7-8 minutes until golden brown. Don’t worry about burning the tofu as they won’t burn so easily due to the moisture in the tofu.
5. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a ramekin, add soy sauce, cayenne pepper, chillies, 1 tsp of sesame oil, agave nectar or honey, garlic, and spring onions. Mix well. Don’t add mixed seeds yet; they go into the sauce just before serving to prevent them from becoming soggy. Taste sauce and adjust accordingly.
6. By the time your sauce is ready, your tofu should be nicely cooked on one side. Flip the tofu pieces to fry the other side.
7. When your tofu is cooked, stack neatly on a plate. Add toasted seeds to soy sauce mixture. Spoon the sauce onto the tofu and serve while tofu is still hot.