Korean Style Sweet and Crunchy Tofu (Tofu Gang-jeong) is a dish loved by most kids in Korea. Yup, surprise; tofu is a popular kids’ menu over there. But even if you aren’t a huge fan of tofu, the sweet and mildly spicy sauce makes this dish irresistible. You can serve the tofu cubes as a side dish (banchan) with rice or top them on noodles.
Use a tofu press to remove excess water.
For people who didn’t grow up eating tofu, the mushy texture is the trickiest part to get used to. You can make tofu chewier by pressing tofu to remove excess water. A tofu press makes this job quick and mess-free. If you are okay with the soft inner texture (I actually love it that way!), you can skip pressing and pat dry the tofu with a paper towel.
Cornstarch or potato starch
You can use either cornstarch or potato starch to coat the tofu before pan-frying. Potato starch yields a crunchier texture but takes significantly longer to cook than cornstarch. Because we’ll be tossing fried tofu with sauce and the tofu will eventually lose some of the crunchiness, I prefer to use quicker cornstarch for this recipe.
Reuse the cooking oil
I like to add a generous amount of cooking oil to the pan when frying to make the cooking process faster. If you can submerge half of the tofu in oil, you only need to flip the tofu cubes once to get all sides crispy. You can reuse the oil by straining it through a fine mesh sieve. I keep an oil strainer pot in my kitchen for this task. You can reuse the oil up to 3~4 times, but I prefer to use it only twice because I like the cleaner taste of fresh oil.
If you enjoyed this recipe, I would love to hear from you!
Also, check out Miso Butter Noodles, which goes great with this Korean style sweet and crunchy tofu.
Korean Style Sweet and Crunchy Tofu
Korean Style Sweet and Crunchy Tofu (Tofu Gangeong) is a dish loved by most kids in Korea.
- 1 14 oz block extra-firm or firm tofu
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp cornstarch or potato starch
- cooking oil
- 2~3 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp gochujang optional
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp water
(optional) Press tofu using a tofu press for 10 minutes to remove excess water. This step will create a chewier inner texture.
Cut tofu into bite-sized cubes. Spread the tofu cubes on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt. Dust cornstarch on the tofu cubes using a sieve. Flip the tofu cubes and repeat the process. Then roll the tofu cubes on the starch-covered cutting board to coat all sides.
In a nonstick pan, add a generous amount of cooking oil and heat over medium heat. Place the tofu cubes without touching each other. When the bottom side is crispy, flip the tofu cubes to fry the other side.
While the tofu is cooking, make the sauce by combining 2 tbsp ketchup, gochujang, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and water. For a non-spicy sauce, you can use 3 tbsp of ketchup and omit gochujang.
Remove the fried tofu from the pan and discard the oil. Pour the sauce into the pan and bring to a simmer. Add the fried tofu and toss to combine.
You can reuse the oil by straining it through a fine mesh sieve.