A delicious one-pan dinner that’ll feed any hungry crowd! This Korean Tofu dish is infused with flavor from crispy browned pork, gochujang, tons of veggies, garlic and ginger. Spoon the saucy Korean mapo tofu over rice and dig in to the coziest of dinners.

Why I Love This Recipe

For starters, this Korean Mapo-style tofu is all made in one pan. And while the ingredient list may look long, it’s made up of simple produce and quite a few pantry ingredients. Plus, the cooking process couldn’t be simpler.

I also love that this Korean tofu combines plant-protein and animal protein. This combination highlights the idea that animal protein can be used to enhance flavor, while pant-protein can offer the majority of “bulk” and protein in a dish. 

Let’s back up, what is mapo tofu anyway? Mapo Tofu is a traditional Chinese dish hailing from the Sichuan region which is known for their incredibly spicy food and common use of the Sichuan peppercorn. This recipe for Korean Mapo Tofu combines traditional Korean flavors and ingredients with the process and technique used to make Mapo Tofu.

ingredients measured out on a table with text overlay

Ingredients in this Korean Tofu Recipe 

Protein:

  • Firm tofu is ideal in texture for this dish, but extra-firm also works. 
  • Ground pork adds tons of flavor and texture to this dish. Avoid using ground sausage or ground pork with added flavorings. 

Produce:

  • Fresh garlic 
  • Fresh ginger
  • Serrano
  • White button mushrooms
  • Green bell pepper
  • Onion
  • Scallions, also called green onions.

Pantry:

  • High-heat oil such as grapeseed oil or avocado oil. 
  • Low-sodium broth, I prefer chicken but vegetable or beef will also work.
  • Gochujang  is a Korean chili paste. It can be found in any Asian market or near the Asian sauces in most grocery stores. 
  • Low-sodium tamari or soy sauce creates a savory sauce. I prefer tamari (Japanese form or soy sauce made with no added wheat), though soy sauce (made from soybeans and wheat) would also be great.
  • Honey or brown sugar is added to balance out the savory and spicy flavors of the dish.
  • Fish sauce adds depth of flavor and umami. Fish sauce can be found next to the other Asian condiments in the grocery store. Once opened, it’s important to store fish sauce in the refrigerator. 
  • Cornstarch is used to thicken the sauce. I haven’t tested this recipe with arrowroot or potato starch, but they should work fine.
  • Toasted sesame oil is added off heat right before serving. It adds a nice dose or toasty nutty flavor. No problem if you don’t have it, it won’t make or break the dish.
ground pork and tofu cubes in a red sauce served over rice in a white bowl

How to Make Korean Tofu

  1. Start by browning the ground pork. Once it’s browned and crispy, transfer it to a bowl. Reserve the drippings—we’ll cook the veggies in that gold!
  2. While the pork cooks, pat the tofu dry and cut into cubes.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger and serrano. Cook briefly until fragrant and starting to brown.
  4. Add the vegetables; season with salt and pepper and cook until starting to soften. You’ll essentially be stir frying, so make sure the pan is fairly hot. And don’t worry about the deep fond on the bottom of the pan, that will come up when we add the sauce.
  5. While the veggies cook, whisk together the sauce ingredients. Add the sauce to the pan and cook a minute or so until thickened.
  6. Stir in to the cooked pork and tofu and cook until warmed through. 
  7. Finish with sesame oil and serve over rice with sesame seeds
cubed tofu, ground meat and vegetables coated in a red sauce in a large pot

More Korean-Inspired Recipes to Love

Saucy Korean Tofu with Pork and Vegetables

Print Recipe
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Yield 6 ½ cups (serves 5)
Category Main Dish
Cuisine Korean
Author Lauren Grant

Description

A one pan meal that will awaken the taste buds! This Korean mapo-style tofu is savory, spicy and saucy. Serve over rice for a full, satisfying meal. 

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or avocado oil
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 (14-ounce) package firm tofu
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (1½-inch) knob ginger, minced (2 heaping tablespoons)
  • 1 serrano, halved, seeded and chopped
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, or ½ large, cut into ½ inch chunks (1 cup)
  • 1 bunch (6-8 scallions), cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ¾ cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons gochujang
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Cooked long-grain rice + toasted sesame seeds for serving

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large sauté pan or wok over medium heat until shimmering. Add pork and cook, without moving, for 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon, break up pork and continue to cook until very browned and crispy, 5 more minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pork to a bowl; reserve drippings in pan.
  • Meanwhile, pat tofu dry with paper towels or clean kitchen towel. Cut into ½-inch cubes and set aside.
  • Increase heat to medium-high. Add garlic, ginger, and serrano; cook, stirring frequently until garlic is lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, scallions, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables start to soften, 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together broth, gochujang, tamari (or soy sauce), honey, and fish sauce until smooth. Add cornstarch and whisk to combine. Add sauce to pan and cook 1 minute.
  • Decrease heat to low and add tofu and pork; cook to warm through, about 2 minutes.
  • Off heat, stir in sesame oil. Top with sesame seeds and serve with cooked rice.
    cubed tofu, ground meat and vegetables coated in a red sauce in a large pot
  •  

Notes

The fond on the bottom of the pan after cooking the aromatics and vegetables WILL come off. Be sure to scrape up the brown stuff once the liquid is added—this adds tons of depth of flavor.
Gluten-free: to make this recipe gluten-free, make sure you use gluten-free gochujang and tamari instead of soy sauce.
Cornstarch: potato starch and arrowroot starch should also work.
Vegan: to make this recipe vegan skip the ground pork and use an additional tablespoon oil for cooking the vegetables in. Skip the soy sauce and use vegan mushroom sauce instead, and use vegetables broth.
Tamari: there are two low-sodium products of tamari sold. I opt for the “lite” or 50% less sodium. If you have 28% less sodium, season the dish the less salt during cooking and adjust as needed at the end. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1⅓ cupsCalories: 278kcalCarbohydrates: 19.5gProtein: 18gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1519mgFiber: 3.5gSugar: 13g
Keywords korean mapo tofu, korean tofu, korean tofu recipe
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below and tag @ZestfulKitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #zestfulkitchen!
ground pork and tofu cubes in a red sauce served over rice in a white bowl

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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