These Korean tofu bowls are simple to put together and feature pan-seared tofu in a savoury, spicy gochugaru sauce, quick pickled carrots, garlicky bok choy and fresh radishes all on a bed of rice. A filling and delicious whole vegan meal in a bowl!
I’ve been more and more obsessed with the whole Buddha bowl craze. But who wouldn’t be? They’re so easy to put together since you don’t need to waste a lot of time thinking up side dishes to serve alongside your main. Just a couple of simply prepared veggies in a bowl along with your “main event” and you’ve got a complete meal!
The “main event” in this Buddha bowl is the Korean-style tofu. Dubu Jorim, or spicy braised tofu, is often served as a side dish but when you’re vegan or vegetarian, it makes a great main! The tofu is extremely easy to prepare, simply pan fry it until it’s golden on both sides then pour over a soy-garlic-gochugaru sauce to season it.
Gochugaru is the Korean red pepper flakes that are also used to make kimchi. If you love kimchi as much as I do (obsessed) then you’ll already have a big bag of it in your pantry for your homemade vegan kimchi! If you don’t make your own vegan kimchi – what are you waiting for???? It’s so easy and such a flavour-packed condiment to add to pretty much anything (and especially vegan bibimbap).
However, if you don’t have gochugaru, you can leave it out and still have tasty Korean tofu bowls or you could substitute red pepper flakes. Red pepper flakes are spicier than gochugaru so start with about ¼ teaspoon and work your way up from there depending on how spicy you like it.
For the rest of these Korean tofu bowls you’ll need a thinly sliced carrot quick pickled in a mix of vinegar, salt and sugar. I do that first before anything else to let it pickle as long as possible. Then move on to the bok choy. Halve or quarter it and sear it till soft in a touch of oil with garlic. Slice a radish and a green onion for garnish. Finally, finish up with the tofu and pile it all into a bowl over a bed of rice. Done!
Serves 2 bowls
10 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
- 1 carrot, thinly sliced
- ½ cup (120 ml) white, apple cider or rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon neutral oil
- ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 medium-large bok choy, quartered
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 small green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons water
- ½ tablespoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon Korean red pepper flakes / gochugaru (adjust to taste)
- ½ teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 250 grams (9 oz) firm tofu, pat dry and sliced into 6 slices
- Cooked rice for 2 bowls
- 2 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 – 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- A sprinkling of sesame seeds (optional)
- Combine the vinegar, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix until dissolved. Add the sliced carrot and set aside to pickle.
- For the bok choy, heat a pan over medium heat and add the oils and garlic. Gently fry for a few minutes until the garlic is fragrant but not browning then add the bok choy. Cover the pan and allow to fry for a few minutes. Flip them over to their other side, cover again, and continue frying until the stems are tender. Remove to a plate.
- Meanwhile, combine all the sauce ingredients for the tofu except for the neutral oil and the tofu. Heat a large pan over medium heat and add the neutral oil and the tofu. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown. Be careful when flipping as firm tofu can break apart easily. Once golden brown, reduce the heat to medium and pour over the sauce. Lift the tofu slices a bit so that the sauce gets underneath. Fry for a couple more minutes on each side then remove from the heat.
- Pile rice into two bowls and top with the bok choy, pickled carrot, tofu, radish and green onion. Sprinkle over some sesame seeds if desired. Serve.
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