I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for quite a while now, and finally got around to making it. The 8 (or more!) hour long marinating process imparts a ton of flavor, and then that flavor gets cooked down into t tasty sauce while the tofu cooks. It’s really strong, so it definitely needs to be eaten over rice to balance it out. I used extra firm tofu, since I couldn’t find the brand recommended in the original recipe (not even at HMart!), and it was pretty delicate and tricky to flip without tearing the pieces. I also used peanut oil in lieu of sesame oil for cooking it, as in my experience, sesame oil is not a good oil to fry with. I think next time, I’d fry the tofu in a little oil, in two batches, and THEN pour the marinade in the pan with all of the tofu and let it bubble and cook down to coat the tofu. I think I’d get a little better browning on the tofu that way. This was a really nice way to enjoy a meat-free Korean BBQ dish. If you happen to be looking for some awesome Sokalbi Gui (Korean BBQ Beef Short Ribs), this recipe is our favorite. I served this tofu with steamed white rice and broccolini.
Bulgogi Style Tofu
One 16 oz block extra firm, very dense tofu (see recommended brand below)
4 green onions, chopped (use white part too!)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 average sized onion, sliced
1 heaping tsp fresh grated ginger
2/3 cup wheat free tamari or soy sauce
4 tbsp toasted sesame oil
6 tbsp organic sugar
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup shredded pear, skin and all
First, make sure your tofu is very well drained. Wrap it up in towels and press between two plates with something heavy on top to get all that water out. I pressed mine for well over an hour. A Tofu Xpress would work great here. I also used the [Twin Oaks] brand of tofu (found at Whole Foods)… which is super dense and just perfect for this recipe. If you can’t find this particular brand, just try and get the densest brick of tofu you can find, as the density makes it easier to slice very thinly. Freezing the tofu after draining is also an option if you’re working with a flimsier tofu.
Once it has drained for a good long time, slice the block in half. Then, make thin slices to the tofu to resemble little tofu steaks. Arrange them in a deepish dish where they will be able to soak up lots of marinade. Then cover the tofu slices with your chopped onions, green onions, ginger and garlic.
In medium sized bowl, combine the tamari, sesame oil, sugar, black pepper, mirin, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes and shredded pear. Stir really well to complete mix all ingredients together. Pour over tofu and veggies. Cover and place into the refrigerator. Let marinate at least 8 hours. It’s really great to do this overnight… a little longer than 8 hours wont hurt anything. In fact, it may even help!
After 8 hours has passed, separate the tofu strips from the marinade. Reserve the veggies and sauce for cooking. Heat up a cast iron skillet (or other handy dandy pan) over medium heat and drizzle with some sesame oil. When your skillet is nice and hot, place the strips into the pan in an even layer so that there is adequate room for them to fry up. When you place the tofu in the pan, it should sizzle. (I cooked my tofu in two batches). Pour enough of the marinade onto the tofu just to cover… make sure some of those veggies get in there too!
Let cook until most of the marinade has reduced, and the bottoms of the tofu slices are nice and caramely brown. Flip over tofu strips and cook until other side turns brown. Continue to cook until all tofu has transformed into delicious Korean bulgogi tofu.
Serve over rice.
Big Flavors Rating: 4 Stars