Contains: Soy. Is: Gluten-free, vegan.
The Korean people typically serve lots of small sides along their main course, and along with rice. These they call banchan. Now, typically I make one or two dishes for a meal, especially if I am eating alone, and call it good. But the upside of banchan is that you can make a lot of each of these dishes, and they’ll last to accompany several meals. Many if not most are served cold, too, so one does not need to re-heat to serve this.
Prep Time: 15 minutes.
Cook Time: 40 minutes.
Rest Time: Marinate six or more hours.
Serves: About 6, depending on how many other banchan dishes you have.
Leftovers?: Should last a week in the fridge.
Korean Banchan: Pickled Tofu
- 1 package firm tofu, cube into 24-32 pieces. Extra firm should crumble less than mine did. (16 ounces / 4.53 grams)
- 3 ounces / 90 mL low sodium gluten-free tamari
- 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1/6 cup / 8 teaspoons / 40 mL rice (or, apple cider) vinegar
- 0.75 cups / 180 mL water
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 1 small apple, de-pitted, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- Cooking oil (I use high-heat avocado, or grapeseed oil
For the main, and this is per person as I prefer to make this part up fresh each time I’m cooking (you can use actual rice instead, or another type of noodle):
- Rice noodles
- 1 tablespoon of the brine from the above
- 1 green onion/scallion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Optional sprinkle of toasted sesame seed.
Sauté the tofu (pat it dry first) with just enough cooking oil, and wait until all sides are lightly browned.
In a suitable pot, add the soy, vinegar, garlic, apple, shiitake and water. Boil for ten minutes, then reduce and lightly simmer for another 30, covered.
Strain the liquid and remove solids, reserving and chopping the shiitake.
In your storage container, place the tofu, onion slices, and the shiitake. Pour the brine over this, and refrigerate once chill enough.
I’d marinate for at least six hours, to let flavors meld. The hot brine will cut down on the rawness of the onion.
Serve as a side (banchan as this is known in Korea); it goes along well with rice or noodles. Mixing in some of the brine with the rice or noodles is recommended at the time you serve.
For the main, I made rice noodles (according to the instructions on my package), drained them, added a little chopped green onion/scallion, added a tablespoon or so of the brine, and drizzled about a teaspoon of sesame oil over the noodles. Some of this banchan was eaten alongside the noodles. Ideally, you’d have several banchan available to select from! Including, of course, some kimchi (which I don’t currently have…)
The only suggestion I’d make to improve this, is a zap of Korean red pepper, to taste, gently mixed to your individual portion of marinated tofu banchan just prior to serving.