I have really been enjoying this Spicy Korean Red Pepper Sauce lately. I have made a big container of it several times and slathered it over every food in sight. I mean, listen to the ingredients: soy sauce, grated fresh ginger, garlic, sugar, sesame oil, sesame seeds and gochugaru, which is Korean red pepper powder. I have covered roasted chicken wings and sauced crispy pork belly. It has one of those tastes that I can say, ‘it brought me to my knees.’ It is that spectacularly good. I mean it.
When I was working on this post, a family member knelt next to my computer, looked at the photo above, and exclaimed, ”Oh my god, that looks amazingly delicious! What is it? Are you going to make more of that?” I explained that it was fried tofu that was crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, with the sauce he’d had on his chicken wings the night before, which he’d told me was drop-dead delicious. You know, one’s grown children are good for something after all. They tell you effusively how great your cooking is. Undoubtedly to ensure you continue to cook for them, when in reality they can cook for themselves just fine. But it works. I am such a sucker. Lol.
Gochugaru, the Korean red pepper powder, comes in two styles, fine and coarse. The fine powder is used to make gochujang, the Korean red pepper paste which I used in a previous recipe for Korean Chicken Wings. The coarse flakes are used to make kimchi and in many other Korean dishes. Gochugaru is found only in Korean cuisine, unlike other ingredients that have versions in the cuisines of many countries around the world. You can read a very cute story about how the red pepper got to Korea on this blog KorasianKitchen.
I hope I have psyched you up about this Korean sauce and you can hardly wait to make it. You will need to get some gochugaru, which you can order on-line at Amazon. If you live in Los Angeles there is probably an Asian or Korean Market near you, or you can drive to Market World in Torrance. And if you are thinking, like me, that Korean food is the next big thing, check out this website Maangchi. Lots of information and recipes. I hope you have fun with this.
Fried Tofu with Spicy Korean Red Pepper Sauce
Serves 4 as starter, 2 as main
Red Pepper Powder Sauce
¼ cup + 3 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru)
3 large garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger, juice and pulp
1 tablespoon lightly toasted sesame seeds
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients.
One 14-ounce container firm Tofu
Peanut oil for frying
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Steamed rice, for serving, if desired
1. Slice the tofu crosswise into 8 slices. Dry on paper towels, pressing down to absorb all liquid.
2. In a large skillet, heat ¼ inch of oil until very hot. Cook the tofu in the oil until browned and crisp. About 8 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
3. Stack tofu slices on serving plate and spoon sauce over. Sprinkle with green onion slices. Serve with steamed rice, if desired.