#K-Recipe: Hearty But Guilt-Free Dinner Dish

by Michelle Li

If you don’t know who Paik Jong-Won is, he’s a very famous chef, owning over 26 restaurant franchises and the star of many popular cooking TV shows. He’s also got a Youtube channel showcasing his various recipes. If you’ve been to Korea, his cartoonised face is the logo for his coffee shop chain, Paik’s Coffee, which is everywhere!

Yonsei University

What’s unique about Paik Jong-won is just how easy his recipes are to replicate. He aims to introduce recipes that anyone can make, whether you’re a beginner in the kitchen or advanced, the cooking skills needed are pretty much nought. The ingredients used are ones you can find at your local supermarket. The simplicity of his recipes are why many Koreans replicate his recipes, even sharing them on Korean forums.

One of Jong-won’s popular recipes is Braised Tofu or “dubu jo-rim” (두부조림) in Korean. Though he uploaded the recipe to his Youtube three years ago, K-netizens are still posting about it now! Although it's more like braised tofu, this dish literally translates to Tofu Stew. There aren’t too many restaurants here in Auckland that have jo-rim as a main dish, instead it’s “jji-gae” (찌개) which is more of a soup dish. Just like the stews that we know, Korean jo-rim is all about the ingredients, and less of the soup. The soup is boiled down, which means the main ingredient, in this case, tofu basically absorbs ALL the flavour!

Naver Blog | @bongs1021 

It’s a super tasty and flavourful recipe but like many of Jong-won’s recipes, Braised Tofu is another one that’s just too easy to not make. Tofu’s also the main ingredient, which makes this recipe even easier; it really doesn’t involve much cooking time and skill. 

Braised Tofu Recipe

For the marinade:

  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Korean red pepper powder (고추가루)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • ½ tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp perilla oil / sesame oil 
  • ⅔ cups (120ml) of water 
  • 1 block of medium-firm tofu

  • ½ Brown Onion (julienned)
  • 3-4 Spring Onion (chopped)
  • Cooking Oil

    1. To prepare tofu, drain out liquid, and pat down remaining liquid with a paper towel. Cut into squares/rectangles with about 1 cm in thickness. 
    2. Turn stove on medium-high heat, add tofu to a pan and fry until golden brown and crispy on both sides.
    3. Add chives, onion, and water to the pan before adding all the marinade ingredients, except perilla oil/sesame oil. 
    4. Once the water has boiled down slightly, drizzle in perilla oil/sesame oil and that’s it!!

    If you want to see Jong-won show how to cook this dish himself, give his Youtube video a watch above. He also added salted shrimp to the dish for an even more umami flavour, so if you have it, try adding 1 tbsp in for an extra depth of flavour.

    Seoul Recipe

    This braised tofu recipe is actually a traditional Korean side dish and with so much flavour, it’s delicious even when paired with plain white rice. Many Koreans often have this dish when they’re on a diet as tofu is super filling yet low calorie. Spicy, savoury and the drizzle of perilla or sesame oil just enhances the flavour, proving that diet meals can be delicious too!   

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