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Korean Tofu Recipes
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim on Nov 17, 2016
I think for most people, organic tofu is a healthy food choice. It's rich in healthy protein, and unlike flesh meats like beef, chicken, and pork, tofu doesn't tend to create inflammation in the body, which is why I generally recommend it to people with chronic, degenerative health challenges.
As with all protein-rich foods, I think it's best not to eat large amounts every day. Better to have a good portion every other day or even every few days, as for some people, eating large quantities of the same protein-dense food daily can lead to the development of a food allergy.
You may know that tofu on its own is quite bland. The key to enjoying tofu is knowing how to prepare it.
Below, I'll show you two ways that we prepare organic tofu to eat with rice, vegetables, and soup.
To begin, you want to put together a tasty sauce that works equally well with both presentations.
Start by dicing up two ribs of green onion. The finer you dice the better. We like to split our ribs of green onion into quarters lengthwise before dicing.
Two ribs that have been halved:
Add about a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to a quarter cup of soy sauce and a tablespoon of sesame oil. Sorry - missed taking a photo of this step, but I did get a shot of the lemon that I extracted fresh lemon juice from. :)
Add half a teaspoon of minced garlic.
A quarter teaspoon of red chili flakes (the Korean version is called go choo kah roo, but any variety should do.
Now add your finely diced green onions - about two tablespoons.
And just a sprinkle of sesame seeds for texture and added calcium content.
Whisk briefly with a fork, and there you have it, a traditional Korean sauce that works beautifully with any form of tofu.
If you're a bit pressed for time and/or you just want something more simple, you can combine soy sauce, sesame oil, and a bit of lemon juice or vinegar.
Boiled Tofu Recipe
For this dish, you can use soft, medium, or firm tofu, but traditionally, Koreans use soft tofu. The label might say soft, or it might say silken.
Drain your block of tofu and place it in a pot.
Cover with water and let boil for five minutes.
Drain again and place entire boiled block of tofu on your serving plate. Do this any way that is convenient for you. My mom is a bit of a thrill seeker and likes to drain the boiling tofu by holding the end of the pot at an angle against the serving plate, letting the water run off, then flipping the block of tofu onto the plate.
Cut the block in half, then cut each half into squares that are about a half inch thick. Drizzle your sauce down the middle of each row of squares, and serve along with a generous bowl of sauce for each person to add more as desired.
As mentioned above, this dish is the perfect compliment to a bowl of rice and some vegetables. We typically enjoy it with rice and kim chi. The texture is that of very light quiche, without the crust, of course.
Enjoy this boiled tofu dish hot or cold. My personal preference is to have it piping hot with a steaming bowl of rice. Leftovers keep well in an airtight container.
Lightly Sautéed Tofu Recipe
Again, you can choose to make this with any variety of tofu, but firm works best by a country mile.
Start by draining your block of tofu and letting it sit for a bit on a plate that is lined with a folded paper towel or two. The paper towel is to help absorb excess moisture, as this helps with the sautéing process.
Use a sharp knife to cut your block of tofu down the middle into two even parts, then cut each part into squares that are about a half inch thick. Let everything sit for another few minutes to let the last bits of water drain out of the tofu.
Next, warm up your favorite cooking oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once your pan and oil are nice and toasty, add a layer of tofu squares.
Sautéing tofu is similar to working with fish; if you try to flip it over before it has crisped up, you're going to lose some of the crisp, which you really don't want to do because that's where all the flavor is. So let the tofu sauté over medium heat for at least two or three minutes. After about three minutes, you can firmly lift the corner of one piece with your spatula to check for a bit of gold. Once you're satisfied, give all of your tofu squares a flip and let the pan do its magic for another few minutes.
This process is a lot easier with a non-stick pan, but we prefer using stainless steel. If you use a non-stick pan, I recommend using slightly less heat.
Once both sides are slightly crispy and golden, serve them up on a plate along with the dipping sauce described above.
Was it really necessary for me to include four views of the final product? Not really, I know. It's hard to suppress the love that I have for this dish; it's the one thing that my mom has always made me over the years, all throughout my childhood, whenever I visited between semesters of school, and even today when I take Margaret and the boys for a visit.
Hope you have a chance to make and enjoy it. Boiled tofu is probably a tad healthier than sautéed tofu, but hey, you have to go a little crazy sometimes to avoid going to the dark side and joining the food police, right?
If you have any questions or comments on these recipes, please use the comments section below or post at our facebook page. And don't forget: food always tastes better when you share it with loved ones.
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