Subtle is rarely a word used to Korean food and this dish is no exception. Piquant, peppery and robust- the tender tofu juxtaposed with crisp bacon lardons and a spicy green onion salad is a Korean inspired “mapo tofu”. This dish is easily vegan and vegetarian friendly by omitting the bacon. —The Shared Plate
tablespoon fermented bean paste (Korean dwen jang or Japanese miso are suitable)
tablespoons fermented pepper paste (Korean gochujang)
gochugaru + 1 pinch (Korean red pepper flakes)
coarse ground pepper
yellow onion, small dice
garlic, sliced thin
firm tofu, 1/2″ cubes
sesame seed oil
rice wine vinegar
- Slice bacon into lardons, place in nonstick skillet and cook on medium heat until crisp and fat is rendered- about 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl add: fermented bean paste, gochujang, soy sauce, honey, coarse black pepper and kosher salt. Stir to combine, set aside. Cut onion into a small dice, slice garlic, and cube tofu- set aside.
- Once the bacon is cooked, drain on a paper towel and drain all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan. On medium high heat, add the onion and garlic and sweat until translucent.
- Add tofu to the pan and turn heat up to high, lightly frying the tofu in the bacon fat. Toss and brown until heated through- about 3 minutes. Add the spicy sauce and 1/3 cup of water to the tofu, stirring gently to prevent breaking up the tofu. Cook on high for 4-6 minutes until sauce has thickened and coated the tofu. Turn off heat and drizzle tofu with sesame oil.
- Slice green onions on a bias and place in a small bowl. Dress the green onions with a pinch of gochugaru (red pepper flakes) and 2 teaspoons of rice wine vinegar.
- Spoon tofu into a shallow bowl and garnish with dressed green onions and crisp bacon. Serve with white rice and devour immediately.