The spread of banchan that a Korean restaurant serves might not be the best judge of the meal to come, but I've found more often than not that you can tell a lot by the little dishes that are served before the main event. Kimchi is a given, but I'm always happy to see little crunchy little fishes, marinated bean sprouts, and especially seasoned tofu.
Briefly pan fried and bathed in a scallion-chile-sesame oil dressing, this tofu dish from Quick and Easy Korean Cookings by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee is a tofu dish that can convert even the most tofu adverse. Slightly crisp on the outside and soft within, this dual textured tofu is the ideal vessel for the super savory dressing. Little sliced scallions and sesame seeds lend a great crunch and the sesame oil and chile round it out, giving it an almost meaty flavor. But this tofu doesn't have to be served as a side dish—with a bowl of steamed rice it can make for a wholly satisfying vegetarian meal or a great addition to a vegetarian bibimbap.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Quick and Easy Korean Cooking to give away this week.
- One 18-ounce package firm tofu
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon Korean chile powder
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Remove the tofu from its package and let it drain in a colander or on its side in a bowl.
Combine the green onions and garlic in a small bowl. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and chile powder and mix.
Cut the tofu cube lengthwise in half, then cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Carefully place the tofu slices in the skillet. Cook until the tofu is slightly browned on the bottom and getting a bit crispy on the edges, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the slices over and brown the other side.
Reduce the heat and spoon the seasoning over the tofu, distributing it somewhat evenly. Cover and let steam for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.