Baked Tofu Bibimbap
Tofu Bibimbap - My recipe for the classic Korean rice dish called bibimbap. I like to make it with lots of veggies and baked, spicy tofu.
Baked Tofu BibimbapJump to Recipe
One of my goals of 2014 is to experiment with a few new cuisines. You guys picked Korean last week in a close poll and, to be honest, I was a bit intimidated. But I tried to start simple with the classic Korean dish called bibimbap, which just means “mixed rice.”
As you might guess, the dish is completely flexible. You can put almost anything in and on it with one exception. It seemed like every recipe I found during my research used one ingredient that I’d never heard of and definitely couldn’t find in the supermarket.
It’s call gochujang paste. It’s spicy, savory, and definitely worth the work to find it if you want to make this Tofu Bibimbap authentic.
- 4 servings
- Prep Time:
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My recipe for the classic Korean rice dish called bibimbap. I like to make it with lots of veggies and baked, spicy tofu.
1) For sauce, mince garlic very fine and stir together with other ingredients. You can make the sauce well in advance and store it in the fridge if you want.
2) For tofu, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lay out a few paper towels on a flat surface and place tofu on paper towels. Cover tofu with paper towels and add some weight to the tofu to press out the liquid. Let the tofu press for at least 20 minutes.
3) Add a drizzle of vegetable oil to a baking dish and add pressed tofu. Top each piece of tofu with a small drizzle of the bibimbap sauce.
4) Bake tofu for 60 minutes, turning once halfway through.
5) Meanwhile, cook rice according to instructions. I like to use a short grain white rice, but any rice will work.
6) When you are about ready to serve, saute grated carrots and peppers with a drizzle of oil in a large skillet. Just cook until the veggies start to soften, but still have a tiny crunch, maybe a minute or two.
7) Add another drizzle of oil to the pan and toss in the sliced shiitake mushrooms and cook over high heat for 3-4 minutes. You can toss in some bird chilis as well if you want to add some additional heat to the dish. Don’t eat the bird chilis though. They will be too hot!
8) Finally, you can wipe out the skillets, add a fresh drizzle of oil, and crack in a few eggs. Cook the eggs for 60 seconds until the whites are just set. Then you can either flip the eggs or cover the skillet and let the eggs steam for 30 seconds. Try not to overcook the yolk though.
Make the bowls by scooping a big spoon of rice into each bowl and stirring in some of the sauce. Top with carrots, peppers, mushrooms, sliced fresh cucumber, sliced tofu, the egg, and extra sauce on the side.
The Right Sauce
Piling stuff in a bowl is not exactly hard, but I really wanted to hunt down this ingredient that I’d never heard of and try it out. You can order it on Amazon, but it’s kind of expensive so I took a trip out to my favorite Asian market and found a few different varieties.
All of the options I saw were in the refrigerated section, kind of near the tofu, and I just chose the spiciest variety.
When I got home, I cracked my paste open and gave it a taste on its own.
This is not something I would recommend. The paste is very spicy, salty, and savory. It’s way strong on its own, but at the same time I’ve never tasted anything like it so I knew it was worth the work to find it.
The other ingredients in the sauce are pretty easy to find and once you mix them all together you’ll be left with a bright red sauce that’s a bit sweet, salty, sour, and spicy. It’s the perfect sauce honestly and you’ll be pouring it on your bowl later.
Gochujang Substitute: If you live in or near a decent-sized city, I bet you can find gochujang. It’s a popular ingredient and most Asian markets will carry it, but if you just can’t be bothered, I think you could substitute chili garlic sauce which almost any supermarket will have. If you do this, leave out the fresh garlic in the recipe. To be honest, the sauce won’t be as good, but it’ll be serviceable for sure.
Prepping the Tofu
You can make bibimbap with almost any protein, but I was craving tofu for some reason on this day so that’s what I used.
To make mine, I pressed my pieces between a few paper towels and some weight (a bowl of water) for about 20 minutes to press out a lot of the moisture. Then I drizzle the tofu with some vegetable oil and slathered each piece with some of my bibimbap sauce.
Bake the tofu at 350 degrees F. for about 60 minutes and turn it once halfway through.
The finished tofu should be browned and crispy around the edges. It’ll be spicy and chewy and perfect in a bowl.
The base of any bibimbap is rice and there’s no rule on what kind of rice you need to use. Any rice will totally work, but I just used some short-grained white rice. I boiled my rice until it was just cooked, then drained, and steamed it for a few minutes until it was light and fluffy.
Meanwhile, add a drizzle of oil to a large skillet and saute some grated carrot and sliced red pepper. Don’t overcook these. Just cook them until they are slightly soft, but still have some crunch to them.
It should only take a minute or two over medium-high heat.
When those are done, add another drizzle of oil and add your mushrooms. I used shiitake but you could use cremini mushrooms also.
I tossed in a few bird chilis whole with my mushrooms to give them some extra heat. If you do this, don’t actually eat the bird chilis. They will be super-spicy. Just cook with them and then discard them. If you do want to serve them, at least dice them up very finely.
The mushrooms will need around five minutes of cooking to lose their moisture and sear nicely.
When they are done, the last piece of the bibimbap puzzle (at least my puzzle) is a good egg.
Crack in an egg and cook it for about 60 seconds over medium-high heat until the whites are set. Then you can either flip the egg or if you want it to be really pretty, cover the pan with a lid and let it steam for 30 seconds.
Then if you want to get even crazier, use a biscuit cutter to make it a perfect egg.
To make a Tofu Bibimbap bowl, add a big scoop of rice to each bowl and stir in some of the sauce. Then top each bowl with veggies, mushrooms, fresh cucumbers, tofu, egg, and extra sauce on the side.
I must say, these Tofu Bibimbap bowls turned out much better than I thought they would, but it was entirely due to the sauce. It’s crazy addicting.
Betsy said it tasted really authentic and the sauce completely made the dish.
So I think I’m one for one on Korean dishes so far and now I have a huge container of gochujang to use for future dishes. Or I might just start using it light sriracha and slather the stuff on everything.
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Hello! My name is Nick Evans and I write and manage Macheesmo. I started Macheesmo 11 years ago when I was just learning my way around the kitchen. I love to cook and love everything food-related, but I have no formal training. These days I focus on fast, accessible recipes with the occasional “reach” recipe!
I’ve posted almost 2,000 recipes on Macheesmo. For each one, I do my best to give full explanations of what I did and tips on what I’d do differently next time. I’ll bring up the tricky parts and the easy parts.
I hope you can find something and cook something!
17 Responses to “Baked Tofu Bibimbap” Leave a comment
Sounds so delicious!!! Would have to use another protein as tofu is not my thing, but I LOVE the sound of the sauce. Will be visiting the local Asian grocery… luckily we have quite a few :-)
You can use any protein under the sun Felicity. I think sliced steak, ground beef, and pulled pork are the standard, but anything would do just fine.
I think I’d like steak & maybe some prawns. I also like the idea of crisping up the rice. I must say though your tofu does look pretty tasty once baked ;-)
My husband and I love bibimbap, and the sauce is a big reason! To add a little more texture to the dish, we tried sizzling the cooked rice in a cast iron skillet for about 10 minutes (a substitute for Korean stone bowls). The crispy rice bits go well with the soft veggies and egg. We’ll be making the recipe with baked tofu next time!
I like the rice frying idea Lauren. Thanks for the comment!
Nick: A couple of places you should be sure to use your new Gochujang sauce (we love that stuff!):
-Kimchi fried rice. If you haven’t made kimchi fried rice in your cast iron skillet with some Gochujang sauce, you haven’t lived! (Okay, maybe an exaggeration, but it’s great!) Here’s a recipe to start with: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/10/kimchi-fried-rice-recipe.html
-Mixed with soy sauce to make a sauce for soba noodles with edamame, etc., a la this Smitten Kitchen recipe: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/08/so-good-soba/
YES. Thanks Claire. I was trying to think of other uses for the stuff. It’s very addictive.
I love to put Gochujang on grilled cheese! (Call me crazy)
Nick: I just started liking Korean food myself after finding gochujang in walmart of all places. I made this recipe for korean stewed chicken and its a great way to use up extra sauce :) I use baby bok choy instead of spinach but it is tasty!
My bottle says its “Go with everything” sauce which I think is funny but accurate :)
Wow, Great work Nick, Your Bibimbap looks so delicious! I’m glad to hear that your enjoyed the bibimbap sauce! :)
Okay… the baked tofu was awesome! And Ive had tofu many ways. Ive been wanting to try bibimbap and finally ordered a tub of gochujang off amazon, used a medley of shrooms and left out the eggs since I ran out so it was a little untraditional but delicious!
Made this a couple of weeks ago – the sauce was a hit!
My question is: would you ever cut the tofu into smaller pieces and/or marinate it in the sauce before baking?
Hey Elaine, you certainly could. I’ve tried it that way for other recipes and I find that the tofu gets a bit too dried out, but it’s personal preference really. Good luck!
I grew up on gochujang. If you have any left over, you should try ddukbokki – it’s a spicy rice cake dish which makes snow in March bearable.
OMG-so was about to say ddukbokki as well. Rice cakes slathered in this sauce-yummers!
what can you use instead of tofu? my entire family cannot become enthusiastic no matter how tofu is cooked.. they even decline a smoothie with silken tofu in it
Hey Laila, theoretically any protein would work fine. Chicken would be an easy substitution though and you could use the same sauce for it and just bake it until it’s cooke through. Good luck!