A halal-friendly and easy Crispy Tofu & Kimchi Stir-Fry recipe – featuring a spicy & tangy flavour, perfect to pair with a steaming bowl of Jasmine rice.
Kimchi, whilst typically served on its own as a side dish, is also a very versatile ingredient to play with. It’s a key base ingredient for many traditional Korean stews and soups, and I enjoy playing on its distinct spicy & tangy flavours to tweak up some stir-fry dishes. I particularly enjoy the combination of kimchi with tofu, as per many traditional Korean dishes. But instead of the classic stews and soups, I came up with this Crispy Tofu & Kimchi Stir-Fry dish, which has proven to be a winner!
Arguably, I would say this is like an adaptation of Chinese stir-fry with Korean flavours. The spicy and tangy nature of this dish makes this an ideal dish on the dinner table, whether it be to warm up over winter nights or to open up the palate during hot summer months. It’s most perfect to serve with a bowl of steaming bowl of Jasmine rice.
How to Make Crispy Tofu & Kimchi Stir Fry
Making Crispy Tofu
Generally speaking, tofu is categorised into silken (soft), regular, and firm tofu. For this recipe, I suggest using firm tofu (or even extra firm). The obvious reason is that its firmer texture makes it easier to cook without breaking apart. Additionally, both soft and regular tofu release more water when cooking, which won’t be ideal if you’re trying to make crispy tofu!
To make them golden and crispy, I coated them with a seasoned cornflour mixture before pan-frying them. The seasonings used to mix with the cornflour include garlic powder, paprika, cumin powder, salt, and black pepper. I have cut them into cubes here as per my personal preference, but you can slice them into rectangles too if you fancy.
If you don’t already know, kimchi is a staple of Korean cuisine, consisting of fermented cabbage. It’s got a distinct spicy and tangy flavour which you either love or dislike. Typically, kimchi itself can be served as a side dish, or simply eaten together with rice. It is also often used in many Korean dishes in stews, soups, fried rice, etc.
You can get kimchi at most oriental supermarkets and sometimes at the oriental section at major supermarkets too due to its growing popularity. For instance, I got mine a Sainsbury’s which actually prompted me to create this dish.
Gochujang, a Korean red chilli paste, is often used together with kimchi when creating traditional Korean dishes. In theory, it is suitable for this recipe, and possibly make this dish has a more “Korean” flair. However, I didn’t realise it’s rather difficult (or impossible) to find halal Gochujang in the UK.
Whilst there isn’t any exact substitute for Gochujang, I’ve enjoyed using Lee Kum Kee’s Chilli Garlic Sauce to provide that umami spicy touch to the dish in this instance.
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Crispy Tofu & Kimchi Stir-Fry Recipe
- 2 Shallots sliced
- 3 slices Turkey Rashers sliced
- 160 g Kimchi (with juices) roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp Garlic Chilli Sauce
- 2 Spring Onion sliced
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
For the Crispy Tofu:
- 280 g Firm Tofu cubed
- ½ cup Cornflour
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- Mix together all the seasoning with the cornflour. Drench tofu cubes in the mixture until fully coated.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook tofu cubes until crispy and golden, roughly 3 minutes on each side. Set aside.
- In the same pan, add more oil if needed. Cook turkey rashers for a few minutes until it starts to crisp up.
- Add in the sliced shallots. Cook for a few minutes until softened.
- Toss in the kimchi, together with its juices. Add the chilli garlic sauce, stir-fry for 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of water if it gets too dry.
- Add in the crispy tofu cubes and spring onions. Toss to mix well. Serve immediately.
- Use firm tofu (or extra firm) for this recipe. Soft or medium tofu would break apart too easily for this occasion and releases too much water.
- Cornflour helps to form the crispy coating and the golden colour. Feel free to switch up the seasoning for your own taste.
- Turkey rashers have been used to replace the typical use of pork belly in Korean cuisine.
- Feel free to swap the Chilli Garlic Sauce with Korean Gochujang.
- This Crispy Tofu & Kimchi Stir-Fry is ideal to serve with Jasmine rice.
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