I absolutely love tofu! I try to eat it sparingly (which is hard since I’m vegan AND living in Korea), but I just find all things in moderation is best. But when I do buy tofu, I buy it fresh off the street, sometimes piping hot~love it! Tofu doesn’t have a long shelf life regardless of whether you buy it packed in the store or off the street, but the fresh tofu lasts for even a shorter period of time. So when I buy it I tend to use it up within 3 or 4 days.
Between my boyfriend and I, the tofu lasted for three meals, and in each meal it was prepared differently.
Meal #1: Tofu with Pepper Sauce, or A Variation on Tofu Kimchi
This meal is really more of a side dish. The tofu can be cut up into squares and then served pan-fried or cold. Sometimes I just prefer it cold. The pepper sauce is super simple. I change up the ingredients somewhat depending on my mood, but it’s just a mix of soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper powder, maybe a little bit of sugar and a tiny bit of vinegar. I suggest adding the ingredients in small amounts and then adjusting to taste. Pour the sauce over the tofu or just dip the tofu into it. Whatever you like. I like to place my tofu in a ring, drizzle a little sauce on top and place a small pile of kimchi in the middle of the tofu ring. The picture below is taken from my cooking class post because I didn’t take a photo of it this week.
Meal #2: Tofu Wraps
This meal is really up to the chef. I basically take a variety of side dishes, kimchis, rice, salads, maybe a pepper paste and make little wraps with scrambled tofu and cabbage leaves. Feel free to add whatever toppings you like.
To scramble the tofu, make sure to drain it before you begin to get most of the water out. Put a little bit of oil in a pan and when it’s hot, crumble up the tofu into the pan. You can use a spatula to break the pieces up-you want it to look kind of like scrambled eggs. Now you can add what you like to flavor it, but I add a little bit of red pepper powder for spice, sometimes minced garlic and ginger and some soy sauce. At the end I drizzle some sesame oil on it and add sesame seeds. Scramble the tofu on med heat till it’s light to golden brown.
For the wraps you can use whatever kind of vegetable or leaf that you like. I use steamed cabbage leaves.
The tofu wraps are super simple, healthy and really tasty. My pictures don’t do them justice, but you get the point. I find this meal is a great way to incorporate your personal style into traditional korean meal preparation.
Meal #3: Baby Bok Choy Salad with Pan-Fried Tofu
There are a billion way to eat tofu, but I enjoy it most in a refreshing salad. It doesn’t have to be a specific salad. My salads usually depend on my mood and what’s in my fridge. Luckily, I tend to always have some greens and a few veggies lyin’ around and can throw something together. I eat a lot of salads, but this one is truly delicious!
I chose to lightly pan fry my tofu in cubes until just brown on the outside. The inside is still soft. For the greens I used blanched spinach and baby bok choy. I also added some blanched bean sprouts and some scallions. I tend to keep dressings quite light. In this particular salad I used a little bit of brown rice vinegar, an even smaller amount of soy sauce, some red pepper powder and sesame seeds. I drizzled a little sesame oil over the top of it. You could add some salt and pepper if you like. I find the red pepper powder is enough, and that salt just takes away from the natural flavors of the salad.