4 (Sun) August 2019
-Dasmariñas Village, Makati, Manila, Philippines-
Dubu jorim is a Korean tofu dish. Consists of tofu (“dubu”) that is braised (“jorim”) in a spicy soy sauce marinade.
As requested by reader Nancy in response to a recent post (see
10.175 Dubu Jorim), I present my recipe below. If anyone tries it, please let me know how it turned out – and send photos!
1 cake – firm tofu (550 grams)
1/2 cup – water
4 TB – light soy sauce
2 tsp – sesame oil
4 TB – minced scallion
1 TB – minced garlic
1 TB – gochugaru (ground red chili)
2 tsp – sugar
1/4 tsp – ground black pepper
4 TB (or so) – canola oil (or any light vegetable oil)
1 tsp – sesame seeds
Firm tofu will brown and maintain their structure – soft tofu has too much moisture, so it won’t brown and will crumble during the process. In the Philippines, Sae Min is the only brand that I’ve come to trust.
This cake weighs 550 grams, but the recipe will work for any amount, give or take.
1. Slice the tofu cake into slabs, each at least 1.5 cm thick – the slab must be thick enough so that the middle remains soft by the time the outside develops a crust upon searing.
2. Lay the slabs flat and press firmly with paper towels to remove surface moisture.
A dry surface will help the crust to develop, also minimizes oil splatter when the slabs are added to the pan.
Some recipes call for onions, but I much prefer large Korean scallions, which have a brighter perfume and break down to make a smoother dressing.
3. Combine the water, soy sauce, sesame oil, scallion, garlic, gochugaru, sugar, and black pepper.
4. Add the canola oil – enough to cover the bottom of the pan – and bring to medium-high heat.
5. When the oil is sufficiently hot, add the tofu to the pan – they should immediately begin to sizzle; otherwise, the oil is not yet hot enough, which will allow the tofu to absorb the oil and become soggy – and sear for about 3 minutes, jiggling on occasion to prevent sticking, until a golden crust develops.
6. Flip and repeat – in addition to the nutty flavor intensified by the Maillard reaction, the crust contributes a critical chewy-crispy texture.
7. Set aside the tofu onto a paper towel and drain the pan of remaining oil.
8. Drop the heat to medium-low, add the dressing to the pan, and sauté for about 1 minute until the liquid begins to thicken.
9. Add the tofu back to the pan and braise for 1 minute.
10. Flip and repeat.
11. Transfer the tofu to a plate, drizzle the remaining dressing on top, and sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds.
The dish can be served immediately, but I prefer to let it rest for at least 30 minutes and come down to room temperature, which allows for the tofu to tighten up and get chewier as it cools, and absorb more sauce and become more balanced in flavor.
If cooking multiple items, this can be made early on, even days in advance. In fact, I love it as a cold snack straight out of the fridge.
Beyond personal preference, the degree of saltiness will depend largely on the soy sauce. If the dish seems too salty at first, it will mellow out as it rests. If still too salty, remove the top dressing. If still too salty, eat it with steamed rice – in a Korean home, the dish would almost always be eaten with steamed rice. And if still too salty, adjust the amount of soy sauce next time.
Any excess dressing can be set aside for another application, e.g., as a seasoning for fried rice.