There are days when I don’t crave any meat but these types of days never seem to come for my husband. Baek Jong Won’s spicy braised tofu with added pork is a perfect solution for these family polarizing days. No fights at home about food! (We don’t actually fight because we’re too nice about it but why not have something that both will equally enjoy?) This braised tofu has the perfect ratio of tofu to thinly sliced pork belly that allows me to enjoy my tofu cravings while still giving my husband a portion of meat that is often needed in his daily eats.
Korean braised tofu, dubu jorim, is traditionally made just with tofu and no meat. The tofu is often panfried first before being tossed and reduced in a spicy soy sauce. Baek Jong Won’s version simplifies the tofu part by adding it to the sauce without pan-frying it first. This means the tofu is a bit softer and should be handled with some delicacy but it frees up some cooking time to accomodate for the additional meat added. As the sauce simmers together and slathers onto the meat and seeps into the tofu, it makes for a hearty dish that’s perfect with a bowl of rice!
It’s also perfect for days when I have no idea when Dr. Juh is getting home from work. Like today, it’s nearly 9pm and I have no idea when he will be home. But it reheats nicely. If the sauce seems to have reduced too much, I can just add a bit more water and whisk around the sauce. No issues there. I’ll be enjoying this earlier than him because there’s only so much I can wait for!
INGREDIENTS – BAEK JONG WON DUBU JORIM (대패 두부조림)
- 1 package tofu (16 oz)
- I prefer soft or medium Korean tofu but this is by personal preference
- 2 scallion (green onion)
- 1 spicy pepper (jalapeno, serrano)
- ½ onion
- 5 oz (150 g) thin sliced pork belly
- on the show, they refer to this as about “2 fistfuls” of pork belly
- 2 Tbsp Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 3 Tbsp + 1 tsp (50 ml) soy sauce
- ¾ cup (200 ml) water
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce (*preferred anchovy fish sauce)
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
(Essentially the soy sauce to water ratio needs to be 1:4. if you’re in the US and the ml is not what you normally measure with , you can do 1/4 cup soy sauce to 1 cup water and reduce the sauce a bit more. Originally, the ratio on TV is 1:3 but it’s really salty then so the 1:4 ratio was perfect).
1. Cut the tofu into equal bite-size pieces. If using a rectangular package, cut in half the long-side and then into 7-8 or slices again.
2. Prepare the vegetables. Slice the onions, chop the peppers and green onion (scallion).
*The original recipe doesn’t include onions but many Korean blogs went ahead and added them as it bring out a sweet flavor and is often a standard in braised tofu recipes.
3. Often, the thinly sliced pork belly is long strips. Cut them in half or thirds for bite size pieces. These can also be labeled as “shabu shabu pork belly” in Asian grocery markets.
*At first, it may seem like a lot of meat but the thinly sliced pork belly shrink quite a bit when cooked. If you can’t find these, they may probably be substituted with regular pork belly (although I have not tried, or you can omit completely).
4. In a medium sized pot, lay the pork belly first and then the tofu on top of the pork.
*Most braised tofus pre-grill the tofu on a frypan before braising in sauce but Baek Jong Won’s recipe skips this step and I didn’t miss it. This leads to a slightly softer tofu texture.
5. Top the tofu with the prepared vegetables.
6. Add sauce ingredients and water to pan.
Baek Jong Won tries to keep things simple (less dishes), and directly adds all the sauce ingredients individually into the pan. I prefer to mix the sauce in a separate bowl and add it to the pan. The end result should be the same, I feel that it’s just easier to make sure all the ingredients are well combined.
7. On medium heat, bring the pot to a low simmer. As the pot cooks, spoon the sauce at the bottom of the pot to the top of the tofu to make sure all the tofu and vegetables are being soaked and cooked in the delicious sauce.
Continue to cook until the tofu is soft and the sauce has thickened and reduced. Depending on your heat, it will take about 10 minutes.
And then, of course clips from the show.
(Koreans mean serious business with scissors)
Look at how this is coming together!
Yep. Need to spoonful it on top of rice.
Say AH. Big Bite. Period. Chef enjoys his own food.