Vegan Korean BBQ (crispy tofu)

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(Last Updated On: May 3, 2022)

Crispy Vegan Korean BBQ Tofu

This vegan Korean BBQ recipe is incredibly flavorful, crispy and easy to make!

 

It has the best sweet, tangy and slightly spicy homemade sauce that’s ready in minutes.

 

Then the tofu is fried to golden brown and tossed in the tasty sauce.

 

Served with rice, green onions and sesame seeds, this is the ultimate vegetarian comfort food recipe ever!

Tofu recipe in white bowl.

This tofu Korean BBQ recipe is a delicious homemade meal, and it’s also super budget-friendly.

 

While it’s certainly best served fresh, I’ve also taken leftovers for lunch the following day and it still retains its crispiness!

 

You can always add some veggies like broccoli if you’d like as well.

 

This is simply my take on the delicious meal, not meant to be authentic but a super delicious version that I love making!

 

If you love this easy tofu recipe, try my Sheet Pan Tofu & Veggies next!

Korean BBQ bite in chopsticks.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Tofu –  I used extra-firm tofu that was pressed for about 30 minutes, it was the perfect meatless alternative!
  • Cornstarch – This helps the tofu get SUPER crispy and fry to golden brown.
  • Sesame Oil – You can also use a neutral oil for frying, but I love the extra flavor in sesame.
  • Green Onions, Sesame Seeds & Rice – These were my toppings of choice, you can also use quinoa to serve this with or add in some veggies.
  • Korean BBQ Sauce – A simple and absolutely delicious sauce made with soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, ginger, garlic and a little cornstarch to thicken it up.

Vegan Korean BBQ with sesame seeds.

How to Make Vegetarian Korean BBQ

I like to get all my ingredients prepared before beginning any cooking.

 

This means cooking your rice, measuring all the ingredients out, and preparing the tofu.

 

You’ll want to press the tofu first – you can do this with a tofu press or by wrapping the block in a towel and placing something relatively heavy on top for 10-30 minutes (the longer the better) to remove as much moisture as possible.

 

This will help your tofu get as flavorful and crispy as possible!

Ingredients in bowls.

Preparing the Sauce and Tofu

To make the sauce, add all ingredients, except for the cornstarch and water, to a pan over medium heat.

 

Cook 3-4 minutes until very fragrant, then briefly remove from heat, add the cornstarch and water mixture while whisking constantly, and return to heat.

 

Cook for another two minutes stirring constantly, until thickened, then carefully transfer sauce to a bowl and set aside.

 

Cut pressed tofu block in half and then into bite-sized pieces; add to a bowl and gently toss with the cornstarch and two tablespoons of the oil until evenly coated.

 

Add remaining oil to the same pan and add the tofu, being sure they don’t touch. Fry on all side until browned, then add the sauce back in and cook another minute while tossing the tofu  to evenly coat.

 

Serve immediately over rice with green onions and sesame seeds, but be careful as it will be very hot!

Making the sauce and fried tofu.

HOW CAN I STORE KOREAN BBQ TOFU?

While best enjoyed fresh, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

 

WHAT IS KOREAN BBQ?

Korean BBQ is a way of cooking and serving food and usually uses marinated meats and sides. This Korean-inspired recipe is a much simplified version of that, with all the wonderful Korean flavors and plenty of delicious food to enjoy. 

Served vegan bulgogi in bowl.

Vegetarian Korean Fried Tofu

The sauce is what makes this tofu incredibly delicious and unlike so many other tofu recipes out there.

 

The delicious savory flavors of the sauce with a mild sweetness and heat is the perfect flavor combination!

 

You can also try making this recipe with tempeh or vegetable protein, but I usually always love having tofu with sauce-y dishes. 

 

If you press it right, it gets an incredible crunch and also soaks up all the wonder flavors in the sauce.

 

If you love this comfort food recipe, try my Orange Tofu, Teriyaki Tofu, Homemade Peanut Ramen, Rainbow Rice Paper Rolls or Vegan Pad Thai next!

Korean BBQ Tofu served with rice.

Tofu recipe in white bowl.

Vegan Korean BBQ (crispy tofu)

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Delicious crispy vegan Korean BBQ tofu with homemade sweet and tangy sauce! The best vegetarian bulgogi comfort food recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz. Block Extra-Firm Tofu
  • 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
  • 5 Tbsp Neutral or Sesame Oil
  • Green Onions (to serve)
  • Sesame Seeds (to serve)
  • Rice (to serve)

Korean BBQ Sauce

  • 1/3 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger, minced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Cornstarch + 2 tbsp water

Instructions

  1. Press* tofu for at least 10 minutes, preferably up to 30 for the crispiest tofu. Cook rice according to package.
  2. To make the sauce, add the soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, red peppers flakes, ginger and garlic to a pan over medium heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes until very fragrant, stirring often.
  3. Mix together the cornstarch and water and remove pan from heat. Whisk in slowly and then return to heat and simmer for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly until thickened. Carefully pour into a bowl and set aside.
  4. Once tofu is pressed, cut block in half and then cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to a bowl along with the cornstarch and 2 tbsp of the oil and gently toss to evenly coat.
  5. Add remaining oil to the same pan over medium heat and carefully add tofu in - be sure not to crowd the pan or they begin to stick together. You can do this in two batches or separate them in the pan.
  6. Cook until browned on all sides, this will take a few minutes and doesn't have to be perfect.
  7. Once fried to your liking, pour the sauce back in and cook another minute, stirring to evenly coat tofu.
  8. Serve immediately over rice with green onions and sesame seeds on top - be careful it will be very hot!

Notes

*Use a tofu press or wrap the block in a towel and place something relatively heavy on top to remove moisture.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 391Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1167mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 3gSugar: 12gProtein: 13g

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11 thoughts on “Vegan Korean BBQ (crispy tofu)”

  1. I need to have flavor in my tofu and it looks like you nailed it! I can’t wait to try the recipe and see if I can make it look as good as yours!

    Reply
  2. I often find tofu tricky to get it to actually have a good flavor, but love the way this is made with the flavorful sauce and crispness.

    Reply

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