Saturday, November 7, 2009

Korean Recipe: Tofu & Kimch (두부김치)

In case you are here for the first time, I should let you know that I'm Korean. I grew up eating Korean food - Koreans don't eat a lot of different kinds of ethnic food. You'll know what I'm talking about if you get a chance to visit there sometime. Koreans love Korean food - rice, kimchi, a bunch of different kinds of vegetable side dishes, fish, soup, occasionally some meat - that's what we eat. I never got to eat Mexican, Japanese (other than sashimi and maybe some sushi), Chinese (only Korean-Chinese, which is quite different from the real Chinese food), or any other European food when I lived in Korea.

When I moved to America, I fell in love with all kinds of ethnic food and then I kind of forgot about Korean food. I was fine without it. And frankly, I always thought it was impossible to get good Korean food in America. My excuse was that I can't find Korean ingredients in any of the American grocery stores. Then I found this amazing Korean market near Sacramento and now I have been able to find some ingredients. Oh I was so excited and started cooking more Korean food lately - I will post those recipes here soon.

I made this great and simple tofu and kimchi recipe before I knew of the existence of the Korean market. It's great because most grocery stores now carry tofu and kimchi nowadays. I used a store-bought kimchi. Yeah, I know, store bought kimchis aren't that great... and that is why I panfried them. Fried kimchi has a great flavor and makes not-so-great kimchi wonderful. Try it, you'll know what I mean. Koreans usually panfry older kimchi (the ones that are getting soft) in a little bit of sesame oil and the kimchi juice. It's a great way to cook up old kimchi that you're about to throw away. And it tastes great!

Tofu & Kimchi (두부김치)


1 tofu, firm, halved and sliced about 1-inch thick
1 cup kimchi, jarred or homemade kimchi (preferably older), cut in small pieces
1/2 cup kimchi juice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
sesame seeds, to garnish
olive oil


In a small pan, over medium-high heat, add sesame oil. When the pan is hot, add kimchi and stir frequently until the kimchi is sofented. Add the kimchi juice and cook until most juice has evaporated. (You may add salt and pepper to taste.)

In a skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. When the pan is hot, add tofu and fry until both sides are browned. Remove the tofu from the skillet.

On a plate, place tofu and top each slices with a spoonful of kimchi. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve warm.

Sook the Cook


  1. My Korean friend once taught me to make kimchi at home. I would definitely like to try these.

  2. Magic! Such a lovely contrast!

  3. I am in LOVE with Kimchi! I love wrapping it, along with some veggies, in nori for some raw sushi goodness!

  4. I'm so glad to to know that someone else loves kimchi too!

  5. I love everything tofu and I love kimchi, this is a great combo!!

  6. My father-in-law got me addicted to kimchi, love it. I buy it though. Do you make your own? Have a recipe for it? Would like to know what other recipes I could incorporate it into. I usually just eat it as a salad on the side. And sorry, no tofu - not a big fan. Thanks Sook, hope you can help enlighten me.

  7. I LOVE kimchi! Hot and spicy, mmm. Also love tofu - I can eat it plain. Put them together? Bliss. I'm lucky to have access to a large Asian market with some nice kimchi there. I never heard of frying it, can't wait to try. Love how this looks, and I can't wait to see more of your Korean dishes!!

  8. Kenny-
    We are Asians! We have to love everything tofu AND Kimchi, right? I've never met any Asian who didn't love those two :) Thanks for the comment!

  9. Carla-
    Is your father-in-law Korean or did he live in Korea for a while? Either way, I'm glad he got you addicted to Kimchi. :) Kimchi was never my favorite when growing up - just because I ate it every single day and I just didn't appreciate it much. But it's when I came to live in America, I came to truly appreciate Kimchi. I miss my mom's kimchi so much! :)

    I am trying to perfect my Kimchi recipe. I've made kimchi several times but I don't want to post the recipe until it has perfected and it tastes like my mom's kimchi. So please keep checking back in for the kimchi recipe. It'll be amazing. Thanks for your comment!

  10. Tasty Trix -

    Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm glad to know that there are many people out there that share the love of kimchi and Korean food (I love it when I find out when non-Koreans love Korean food like I do)! Thanks very much for your comment. I'll sure post more Korean recipes in the future.

  11. Sook,

    I love love love kimchi! Sometimes I make my own kimchi, but it never turns out as good as the one that I get at this restaurant Gahm Mi Oak in Manhattan, which lucky for me is opened 24 hours/day! I go there for sul lung tang and a big side of kimchi that is spicy, tart and bubbly on my tongue!


  12. hmm, doesn't get simpler than this! i have actually made kimchee at home before, but i'm not sure it's worth all the effort.

  13. Christine,

    It would be so nice to be able to go to a great Korean restaurant whenever I want! I live near Sacramento, CA and I haven't found a really good Korean restaurant around here. A couple of good ones but not great. I'm so happy to share our love for Kimchi though!

  14. Justin,

    I'm impressed that you even attempted to make Kimchi at home. Making kimchi at home can be challenging and a lot of work but with a lot of failure, your kimchi will be perfected. I still haven't perfected my kimchi (I've made it about three or four times now) but I'm getting there. :) Thanks for your comment.

  15. Two of my favourite things together in one dish! I love tofu and kimchi! My boyfriend and I have a favourite Korean restaurant in central London where we go and our favourite thing on the menu is the kimchi pancake.

  16. Yes he served in our armed forces and has been all over the world. Let me know when you get the perfect kimchi recipe. And also what other recipes can you incorporate kimchi into other than tofu?

  17. Hi Hilary -

    Glad to hear you like kimchi too! Kimchi pancake is one of my favorites, too.

    I made kimchi soup the other day. I will post the recipe soon. There are many things you can make with kimchi. Kimchi pancakes, Kimchi fried rice, kimchi soup, etc. I plan to post those recipes in the future. Thank you for your comments!