Esther Choi's Dubu Jorim

February  2, 2021
6 Ratings
Photo by Esther Choi
Author Notes

Chef Esther Choi of NYC's Mokbar makes a Korean braised tofu (dubu jorim) that's easy enough to prepare on a weeknight, and so flavorful you'll think it was marinated overnight and slow-cooked for a day. Serve with a bowl of hot steamed rice and kimchi for a savory, spicy, thoroughly satisfying meal. —Esther Choi

Test Kitchen Notes

If you have the time, a press is a great way to get all the moisture out of tofu. Find a tofu press at Asian markets with a well-stocked home goods section, restaurant supply stores, and online specialty retailers. —Jess Kapadia

Watch This Recipe
Esther Choi's Dubu Jorim
  • Prep time 35 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 4
  • 1 14-ounce block extra-firm tofu
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 scallions, white and light green sections, chopped
  • 1 red chili pepper, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons gochugaru
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • steamed white rice, to serve
In This Recipe
  1. Slice tofu into 1-inch squares as evenly as possible. Lay out on a sheet pan and rub 1 tablespoon of soy sauce all over the tofu on both sides and let marinate for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add ½ cup hot water to the dried shiitake mushrooms and let soak until ready to use.
  3. Add onion to a cold pan with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, bring up the heat to medium, then lower the heat and cook on low for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onions are caramelized, golden-brown, sticky, and jammy.
  4. In a bowl, combine scallions, chili, garlic, ginger, gochugaru, paprika, remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, sugar, mirin, and toasted sesame seeds, and set aside.
  5. Squeeze out the liquid from the shiitake mushrooms, de-stem, and thinly slice. Add the mushroom liquid to the sauce for the tofu and mix well.
  6. Pat down the tofu using a kitchen towel until there is no moisture left. The drier the tofu, the more crispy and brown it will get.
  7. Heat the remaining tablespoons of vegetable oil on a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add tofu and brown for 1–2 minutes on each side.
  8. Once you flip tofu over, add a bit of caramelized onion, shiitake mushroom, and sauce on top of each piece. Lower the heat to medium, pour the remainder of the sauce over the tofu, and simmer with the lid on for about 5 minutes.
  9. Take the lid off and continue to simmer until sauce is reduced and thickened, about 2–3 more minutes.
  10. Serve immediately with steamed white rice.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Tanya Mur
    Tanya Mur
  • Leslie Casimir
    Leslie Casimir
  • Food o' del Mundo
    Food o' del Mundo
  • SPark0101

    9 Reviews

    SPark0101 February 19, 2021
    Really delicious. I pressed a bunch of water out of the dubu but didn't go nuts and the dish was still really tasty.
    Tanya M. February 18, 2021
    I enjoyed this and will make it again. I didn't bother placing the mushrooms and caramelized onions right on the tofu as she did though, and it was totally fine. Next time will reduce the spice a bit.
    Leslie C. February 10, 2021
    Oh thank you, thank you! I am obsessed and now finally found my favorite way to use tofu!
    cyndi February 9, 2021
    So good! Definitely double the recipe to serve as main dish for 4 people.
    Molly A. February 8, 2021
    I've never cooked tofu, but I'm obsessed with food52. I knew it would be the best of the best. It was a snap to throw together. Hubs didn't miss the meat at all and LOVED it. Already reordered the groceries to make it again. So. So. Good.
    Food O. February 6, 2021
    I couldn’t wait for a reply, so I drained the tofu thoroughly, and used two blocks. There was plenty of sauce for both. This was an outstanding dinner and will be added to the repertoire. Thank you for posting!
    Food O. February 4, 2021
    I watched the video and read the recipe and it does not say to press your tofu, but in the kitchen notes it says a good press will get out a lot of moisture.
    I am new to tofu and would like to know if it should be understood when I see it in a recipe I should always be pressing it.
    Which would be good because I just bought a cute tofu press ‘TofuBud’ and I can’t wait to use it.
    Dana L. February 6, 2021
    In my experience, generally, and for this recipe, the tofu press is important! Love this recipe, I first made it without gochugaru, and it was still great, but I bought some from an Asian market, and it was even better!
    Wonbo W. February 11, 2021
    This is a very forgiving recipe -- you can try it both ways and see which you prefer. If you press a lot of the moisture out of the tofu, it will have a denser texture, and will crisp up better -- but if you prefer a softer texture on the tofu, try draining it on paper towels like Esther does in the video.