Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Warm Tofu with Spicy Garlic Sauce

So the answer to the previous post is that the mix won. Surprised? I kind of wasn't. There's a reason Korean moms use the mix, and I'm not one to argue with them....

Warm Tofu with Spicy Garlic Sauce

Another Korean dish I made recently (although it's from the March 2009 issue of Gourmet, so I don't know how authentic it is) was warm tofu with spicy garlic sauce. It's one of those incredibly easy (so easy I barely consider it cooking) but so good recipes. My mom makes something similar except it's cold silken tofu with soy sauce, sugar, scallions, and bonito flakes on top. Sometimes she adds thousand year eggs, too, but I don't really care for them. Anyways, this warm version should tide me through the rest of the Boston winter. Only 28 more days until Opening Day!

Spicy Garlic Sauce

Warm Tofu with Spicy Garlic Sauce
(based on this recipe)
makes an appetizer for 2-3 people or a light meal for 1

1 (12 oz.) package firm silken tofu
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped scallion
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon coarse hot red-pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Carefully rinse tofu, then cover with cold water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then keep warm, covered, over very low heat.

Meanwhile, mince and mash garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt. Stir together with remaining ingredients (except tofu).

Just before serving, carefully lift tofu from saucepan with a large spatula, drain, and transfer to a small plate. Spoon some sauce over tofu and serve warm.

Warm Tofu with Spicy Garlic Sauce

The original recipe called for soft, not silken tofu, but all I had was firm silken tofu, and it worked just fine, although you have to be extra careful when transferring it. I prefer the texture of silken tofu for this dish anyways, probably because it reminds me of my mom's dish. I also ended up estimating the measurements for all the ingredients for the sauce. I definitely didn't have a quarter cup of chopped scallions as I recently harvested almost all my scallions for the Peking duck. And I just realized that I forgot to crush the sesame seeds with the side of a heavy knife. Oh well, it was still delicious anyways. ^_^

My scallions Harvested scallions
Before and after


  1. Yum! I was eyeing this recipe in the magazine, too.

  2. looks great! (:

    my mom usually puts this dressing on fried tofu or acorn jelly. since i moved out, i've been enjoying this easy method.

  3. This looks like a dish I had in a Japanese restaurant years ago (it was on the menu as "tofu steak"). Since your mom makes something similar, maybe it's common all over east Asia. The idea behind it is simple enough -- tofu + salt (soy sauce) + sugar + alliums -- that it's easy for many people to have come up with it independently.

    Anyway, authenticity is a tricky issue if you really start to think about it. I mean, is spaghetti in marinara sauce authentically Italian, considering that the tomato is a New World crop? I won't even go into whether they invented pasta or not.

  4. I love tofu (almost) everything. That sauce looks really tasty. Must try it some time!

  5. Oh, Joy! Wow ... that is mouth-watering! Thanks for the submission!

  6. I use the mix too and always felt guilty for it. After your experiment, I feel justified, thanks! :)

  7. This sounds amazing. I think I'd even put that sauce on vanilla ice cream!

  8. Yup this is a fairly authentic recipe. My grandma used to make it in the cold winters, leftovers are yummy cold the next day anyhow so she would make a huge bunch. I really loved this issue of Gourmet!