This spicy gochujang tofu is an amazing Korean-inspired recipe to enjoy crispy tofu with a lot of flavor! Ready in less than 15 minutes and with minimal ingredients, this is a great vegan-friendly quick and easy weeknight dinner.
I was inspired to make this recipe after the popularity of my honey garlic tofu recipe. This recipe is similar, but with the addition of spice from the gochujang paste, and I used maple syrup instead of honey to make this recipe suitable for vegans, too!
What is gochujang?
Gochujang is Korean red chili paste. It’s a thick, spicy, deep red paste (the most popular brand often comes in a small red rectangle tub) that is used in a lot of Korean and Asian recipes.
Gochujang has definitely become more “mainstream” recently and I’m glad it has, because seeing other creators cook with gochujang inspired me to start using it myself and eventually create this beautiful recipe!
You can find the full ingredient quantities needed for this recipe in the recipe card at the bottom of this page. Here are a few notes on the ingredients required.
- Extra-firm tofu: You’ll need a firm tofu (extra-firm recommended) to make this recipe in order to achieve the beautifully crispy exterior. Silken tofu would not work for this recipe.
- Cornflour and spices: Cornflour (corn starch) and a simple blend of garlic pepper and salt coat the tofu for a crispy crust. You could use plain flour instead of corn flour, and garlic salt and black pepper if you don’t have garlic pepper.
- Oil for frying: I use a neutral oil, such as vegetable oil, for shallow frying the tofu. I’ve included notes on cooking the tofu in the oven or airfryer instead below.
- Gochujang paste: You should be able to find this in most major retailers and Asian supermarkets.
- Maple syrup: I used maple syrup for this recipe to make it suitable for vegans. You could use honey instead if you prefer
- Soy sauce: I used light soy sauce for this recipe, but light or dark will work fine.
- Garlic: As much as you can handle! For me, this was 3-4 small cloves of garlic which was the equivalent to about 1.5 tablespoons of minced garlic.
How To Make Spicy Gochujang Tofu
This recipe is very versatile and quick, so it’s a great quick and easy dinner with a lot of flavor packed in!
Step 1) Prepare Your Tofu
Tear your tofu into chunks and coat it in cornflour and the seasonings listed.
Step 2) Fry The Tofu
Heat your oil in a pan and fry the tofu in batches until it’s golden and crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Step 3) Cook The Gochujang Sauce
add the gochujang, maple syrup, soy sauce, and water to the pan and cook until thick and saucy. Add the minced garlic.
Step 4) Add The Tofu
Finally, return the cooked tofu to the pan and coat in the sauce.
I served my gochujang tofu with white rice, sesame seeds, and spring onions. It would also pair well with broccoli on the side.
Alternatives To Frying The Tofu
If you would prefer to avoid frying the tofu, here are two other options. I haven’t tested them yet, but would imagine both would result in slightly less crispy tofu, but would still work well if you want to avoid frying.
- Oven: Bake your tofu (still coated in the cornflour and spices) in the oven for 20 minutes at 200C/400F before adding it to your sauce which you’ll cook as normal.
- Air fry: Pop your tofu in the air fryer for 10-15 minutes at 200C/400F instead of frying it.
Storing Leftover Gochujang Tofu
If you have any leftover gochujang tofu, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
This spicy gochujang tofu is best served hot and fresh, but can also be eaten cold if you prefer. I would recommend reheating either on the hob or in the oven.
More Recipes You Might Like:
- Honey garlic tofu
- Tofu Stir Fry Noodles
- Curry Laksa Noodles With Crispy Tofu
- Crispy Baked Tofu Nuggets
- Spicy Peanut Noodles
- 500g tofu, torn into chunks
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp garlic pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp gochujang paste (Korean red chili paste)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 medium cloves (about 1.5tbsp) minced garlic
- Oil for frying
- 1 tsp white sesame seeds
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- Drain your extra-firm tofu and pat it dry - I like to give the tofu a gentle squeeze to remove excess moisture.
- Use your hands to tear the tofu into bite-sized (1-inch or so) chunks into a bowl. Keep the chunks relatively uniform in size if possible.
- Add the cornflour, garlic pepper, and salt and toss the tofu chunks to ensure they’re fully coated in the cornflour.
- Heat your oil in your pan, and once it’s hot fry the tofu chunks in batches for 3-4 minutes until golden and crispy. I cooked mine in two batches so as not to overfill the pan, but this will depend on the size of your pan!
- Place the crispy tofu on a chopping board lined with kitchen towel to soak up excess oil.
- Drain away any excess oil in the pan and reduce the heat. Add the gochujang paste, maple syrup, soy sauce, and water to your pan.
- Stir the sauce ingredients together until the paste has softened and created a thick, bubbling sauce.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
- Return your tofu back into the pan and use your spoon to coat the tofu in the sauce.
- Serve with the white sesame seeds and spring onion scattered on top!
I added about 4 tablespoons of a neutral oil to my pan to fry the tofu chunks for this recipe, which results in the crispiest tofu.
For a lower calorie alternative, you could bake the tofu at 400F/200C for 20 minutes, or cook the tofu in the air fryer at 400F/200C for 10-15 minutes until golden and crispy.
You might notice that the gochujang paste is quite thick when you first add it to the pan. Don’t worry, the other ingredients and heat help it to soften and melt into the spicy sauce - I used my wooden spoon to encourage this process as you can see in the video!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 131Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1254mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 7g