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Korean Tofu with Spicy Korean Ketchup

Try this super easy, Korean vegetarian side dish – Korean tofu with spicy Korean ketchup!

This pan fried tofu is lightly coated with spicy Korean ketchup. And, yes, it tastes as it sounds. It has lightly crispy texture outside with the usual soft tofu texture inside. It is then covered with sweet, spicy and lightly tangy sauce. Boom.👌 

Spicy & Tangy Tofu in a skillet

My mum used to make this spicy ketchup tofu for me when I was a little child.

As a child I had to fight over these little tofu pieces with my young uncle, who also lived in our house. It’s quite an addictive side dish, so it was worth fighting for. 😉

The Korean name for this tofu dish is “Dubu Kecheob Jorim (두부 케첩 조림)”, which literally means braised tofu in ketchup. But in this recipe, tofu is just lightly stirred in the sauce. Also, the sauce consists of more than just the ketchup.

Now that some basics are covered, let’s talk about the best way to cook this dish.

Pan Fried Tofu

For the sake of simplicity, I just like to pan fry the tofu in a skillet until all sides are golden brown.

While it’s not necessary to cook it until all sides are golden brown, I do think it tastes better if you do. 

The key is adding the tofu when the skillet is well heated with a generous amount oil, so that it doesn’t stick to the skillet. I normally add even more oil half way through cooking too, so it has a mini “deep frying effect”.

Some people go to even further effort by coating the tofu with some corn or potato starch too. (All before pan frying, of course). If this is your cooking style, by all means, go for it.

Spicy Korean Ketchup

Now you might be intrigued. What is spicy Korean ketchup!? 

Essentially, it is tomato ketchup mixed with gochujang (Korean chili paste) and a few other seasoning ingredients. It is so quick to whip up!

I’m sure some people would love using this sauce on a hamburger or with fries too. It’s so versatile! 

My mum’s kids friendly version would only use a very small dose of gochujang, so that it’s not overbearing for little ones.

Nonetheless, you can up the spice level according to your preference. Though, I find that the ideal spot is adding around 1 Tbsp to 1.5 Tbsp of gochujang .

How to Store Spicy Korean Ketchup Tofu

Tofu naturally releases water no matter how well you press it. 

Therefore, it is best to consume the seasoned tofu after it’s freshly cooked, as the water can start diluting the sauce.

It still tastes OK but as time goes by, tofu will look less appealing and less saucy.

But if you must, you can store the seasoned tofu in the fridge (in an air tight container) for a day or two.

Love Tofu?

If you love tofu, don’t forget to check out my other tofu recipes. Pan fried tofu in garlic soy sesame sauce (Korean traditional style), Sundubu Jjigae (Korean Spicy Soft Tofu Stew), and Cold tofu Salad

Ingredients for Korean Tofu with Spicy Ketchup Sauce

Main

  • 250g / 0.6 pounds tofu, firm to extra firm, cut into cubes
  • cooking oil, I used rice bran oil

Spicy Korean Ketchup Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp ketchup (also known as tomato sauce in Australia)
  • 1 – 1.5 Tbsp gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce, regular
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • green onions, finely chopped (optional)

* 1 Tbsp = 15 ml

**If you want to learn about Korean ingredients, check my essential Korean ingredients list.

How to Make Korean Tofu with Spicy Ketchup Sauce

1. Combine the spicy Korean ketchup sauce ingredients in a bowl. Mix them well and set it aside.

Mixing Spicy Korean Ketchup Ingredients in a bowl

2. Pat dry the cubed tofu using kitchen paper. You may also want to gently press them down to squeeze more water out. Pan fry the tofu in a skillet over medium high heat until all sides are golden brown. (It will take 2-3 mins on each side.) Remove the tofu from the skillet and set it aside.

pan frying cubed tofu in a skillet

3. Pour in the spicy ketchup sauce in the skillet and stir it over medium low heat for about  5 to 10 seconds. Return the tofu to the skillet. Gently coat with the sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions.

Mixing pan fried tofu with spicy ketchup in a skillet

4. Serve with steamed rice. (It can be served warm or cold.)

Spicy Korean Ketchup Tofu Served in a bowl


Spicy & Tangy Tofu in a skillet

Korean Tofu with Spicy Korean Ketchup

Super easy Korean vegetarian side dish - Korean tofu with spicy Korean ketchup! It has lightly crispy texture outside with the usual soft tofu texture inside. It is then covered with sweet, spicy and lightly tangy sauce. So delicious!
4.91 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side dishes
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: korean tofu, spicy korean ketchup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 134kcal

Ingredients

MAIN

  • 250 g tofu (0.6 pounds), firm to extra firm, cut into cubes
  • cooking oil , I used rice bran oil

SPICY KOREAN KETCHUP SAUCE

Instructions

  • Combine the spicy Korean ketchup sauce ingredients in a bowl. Mix them well and set it aside.
  • Pat dry the cubed tofu using kitchen paper. You may also want to gently press them down to squeeze more water out. Pan fry the tofu in a skillet over medium high heat until all sides are golden brown. (It will take 2-3 mins on each side.) Remove the tofu from the skillet and set it aside.
  • Pour in the spicy ketchup sauce in the skillet and stir it over medium low heat for about 5 to 10 seconds. Return the tofu to the skillet. Gently coat with the sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions.
  • Serve with steamed rice. (It can be served warm or cold.)

Notes

* 1 Tbsp = 15 ml
**If you want to learn about Korean ingredients, check my essential Korean ingredients list.

Nutrition

Calories: 134kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Fat: 11g | Sodium: 242mg | Potassium: 63mg | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 1.7mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Tried this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Leave a comment below or Tag me on Instagram @MyKoreanKitchen.

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Written by: Sue

Last Updated: May 13, 2019

Hi, I'm Sue and I am the creator of My Korean Kitchen. Thank you for joining me in this delicious culinary journey!

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25 thoughts on “Korean Tofu with Spicy Korean Ketchup”

  1. Hi, this is definitely something I’m craving for now, since I decided to go on a diet and I need some strong flavours in stead of a blend salad:))
    I’d love to know though if the nutrition values are given per 100g or per serving?
    Thank you!

    Reply
  2. LOVED IT!! I traveled to South Korea earlier this year and the food was incredible. I’m glad I found your website so I can make all these tasty foods at home!

    Reply
  3. This was amazingggg, so worth getting splattered with the hot oil when I fried the tofu 😆 its sweet but not ridiculously sweet, and tasted a little similar to the samyang fire chicken noodle sauce without the fire part. Definitely going into my recipe collection with this one! <3

    Reply
  4. I tried my tofu with the similar idea and I really liked how it turned out. I like using gochujang and ketchup combination. It adds a nice punch to the dish.

    Reply
  5. I’ve made this twice within the last month. Once for my best friend and I. Then again for myself for something quick when I was in the mood for some tofu, my second time making it I double the amount of gochujang and it was perfect for me (I love my spice). It’s absolutely delicious and everyone loved it! I have saved this recipe and will definitely be making it again. I love your recipes.

    Reply
  6. Hi Sue
    Made this recipe only two hours ago, it was gone in minutes! I made the spicy sauce first to get husband’s take on the taste. We both loved it &now he’s asked if we can have it in the fridge as a regular staple-happy to oblige!
    The tofu came out with a nice crisp texture, the sauce changes with heat, sooo good
    Thank you for another great recipe!

    Reply
  7. Sounds delicious. I bet the spicy sweet and hot sauce goes well with the tofu. I have noticed that Korean recipes have a lot sugar. Adding a bit of Ceylon Cinnamon powder could cut the need for sugar in half as cinnamon makes food taste sweet. More importantly it counteracts the effects of sugar, so a win win. We would more than happy to send you a complimentary bag of Ceylon Cinnamon to experiment.

    Reply

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