Do you like tofu? If you do, you will love this Korean style tofu dish. You don't like tofu? well, I think this pan fried tofu might change your mind. Whoever tasted this tofu dish, whether they are tofu lovers or tofu haters, ended up loving this ever popular Korean side dish. We call it Dubu-buchim (두부부침).

This dish also happens to be vegan and vegetarian friendly as well. Plus, it can be gluten-free as long as the source of your tofu is pure soybean product. Tofu is a great way to get plant-based protein. 

Some people don't like the tofu because of its almost non-taste, raw, and bland flavor. Try with a great Korean style chili sauce to go with. The sauce is mildly spicy, adding a gentle heat to the overall flavor. If you are not into the spiciness, you can always reduce the amount of chili flakes or omit. But I HIGHLY recommend to try with Korean chili flakes in the sauce. And, please, DO NOT substitute with the regular chili flakes (peperoncino).

Cut tofu block in half and slice each half into about 3/8 inch thick slices. You will get 14-16 slices total. You have to use FIRM tofu. Extra firm might be too firm for this recipe.

Now heat 1-2 tablespoon of oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.

Press each tofu slices quite firmly with a piece of paper towel to remove some moisture.

Then drop them to the hot skillet with oil. Let the tofu sear for 5 minutes. Do not bother them.

After about 5 minutes, flip them over to the the other side. You should see the crisp skin is formed on the surface with deep golden brown color. Sear the other side of tofu for another 5 minutes. If you prefer crispier skin, let the tofu sear longer. Adjust the heat level if the skin is turning dark too soon. I use medium to medium-low heat on my stove.

Meanwhile, let's make the sauce to go with. In a small bowl. combine finely minced garlic, soy sauce, and Korean chili flakes.

Add minced chives, toasted sesame seeds, and toasted sesame oil. You can substitute chives with green onion if you prefer.

Place the crisp tofu slices on a serving platter and drizzle the chili sauce on top. I added some sliced chives and onion as a garnish.  You don't need to.

Serve with rice!  In order to maximize the health benefit of tofu, I like to serve them with Korean multi-grain rice. You will find how to cook multi-grain rice on my site, Beyond Kimchee.

This dubu-buchim is one of the gazillion side dishes of Korean cuisine, but I often enjoy it as my main dish when I am longing for a meat-free vegetarian meal. You can also try to serve with noodles as well.

The crispness of tofu with a flavor packed Korean chili sauce..., this will become your favorite way of eating tofu. Quite simple to make, right?

I hope you give yourself a try if you never had a tofu this way before. The recipe is below. Enjoy!

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If you have any questions regarding this recipes or other Korean food in general, please leave a message in the comments. Thanks!

Korean Pan-fried Tofu (Dubu-buchim)

serves 2-4

Prep time: 10 mintues

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes


  • 1 block (450 oz) firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil or more
  • 3 tablespoon low-sodim soy sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoon Korean chili flakes
  • 1 small garlic finely minced
  • 2 tablespoon minced chives, or 1 green onion
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds


  1. Cut the tofu in half. Slice each half into 3/8-inch slices.
  2. Press each tofu slices firmly with a piece of paper to remove some moisture. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick surfaced skillet over medium heat, add the tofu slices, a few pieces at a time, and sear for 5 minutes. Do not disturb the tofu while searing. Turn the tofu the other side and continue to cook for another 5 minutes until they creates deep golden brown skin. If you prefer crispier skin, sear for longer time. Adjust the heat level so you don't burn the surface.
  3. Meanwhile, let's make the Korean chili sauce to go with. Mix soy sauce, Korean chili flakes, garlic, chives (or green onion), sesame oil, and sesame seeds in a small bowl.
  4. When all the tofu slices are done, place them on a serving platter, and drizzle the chili sauce on top. You can garnish with chives and thinly sliced onion if you wish. Serve warm with rice or noodles. Enjoy!

Would you like more vegetarian recipes? Click the images below!

Swiss Chard Fritters    Radish Pancakes    Japchae Salad