October 15, 2021

(Sort of) Korean Fried Tofu

Have you ever had Korean-fried anything?? It is sweet and savory, spicy and crispy! This vegan / vegerarian version is no exception!

Have you ever had Korean Fried Tofu? Or Korean-fried anything?? It’s unreal! It is sweet and savory, spicy and crispy. It’s aromatic and such a delight with every bite! In fact, at a restaurant nearby I ordered it a little more than I’d like to admit. Though, once their menu changed I knew I had to fill the space left in my heart with a home-made version.

To be clear, by no means is this version traditional. This is my experimental attempt. All I knew was that I wanted something crispy crunchy, slightly sweet and mouthwateringly savory. I wanted it loaded with extra scallions, extra ginger, and a mountain of dry-roasted peanuts.

When developing this recipe I opted for panko instead of a heaver coating. I wanted it to be bit lighter than the versions I tried, and instead of chicken or meat, I swapped it for tofu. Though, I am looking forward to trying with cauliflower and air-fryer or baked versions!

That said, I shared with my neighbors and it was such a hit that they asked me to help teach them, which brings us here!

By the way, since this recipe is truly, really, all about sauce and crispiness, as long as you focus on the seasonings and frying you will be good to go!

So on that note, scroll down for some imagery and notes to make it yourself!

(Sort of) Korean Fried Tofu


Panko Tofu Ingredients:

  • 2 (14 oz.) packages firm tofu, drained and pressed between paper towels for 30 minutes, and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1/4+ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cracked. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2+ cups panko
  • Vegetable oil for frying (enough to fill a heavy-bottomed skillet or pot with 1/2″ of oil)

Korean-ish Sauce:


  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbs dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 3 tsp sesame seeds

Method for Coating the Korean Fried Tofu:

  1. To coat the tofu, place the flour, flax meal, and panko breadcrumbs into three separate bowls. Season the flax meal mix with nutritional yeast flakes, sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, onion powder and garlic powder, then whisk with water. Allow to rest for 5 minutes to thicken.
  2. Afterwards, dredge each piece of tofu thoroughly into the flour, then dip into the flax mixture with one fork (or two!). Coat and allow the excess flax meal mixture to drip off (that way there is enough of the mixture to coat the remaining pieces.)
  3. Then, transfer the flax meal-coated chicken into the bowl of panko. Use a separate fork to generously and evenly cover the tofu with the crumbs. Next, place the breaded tofu aside onto a plate or tray until ready to fry. Repeat the coating process with the remaining pieces.

Method for Cooking and Coating:

  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, bring the vegetable oil to medium heat, until it reaches an ideal frying temperature, or about 350°F on a thermometer. When ready, add the coated chicken to the frying pan, working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Fry for about 2-3 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown and crispy all over. (For reference, I use my #10 field company skillet. Timing may vary depending on the stove and cookware. It takes me 4 batches to complete the frying process).
  2. Afterwards, using tongs, transfer the fried tofu to drain on a paper towel-lined rack/tray until ready to toss with the sauce.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan to medium heat and add the sauce ingredients. Stir until combined and cook for 3-4 minutes or until it begins to bubble and thicken. (It should shift ever-so-slightly into a deeper reddish brown.) When ready, transfer the sauce into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Afterwards, transfer the fried tofu into the mixing bowl of sauce. Then, quickly toss together until evenly coated. (I find it is easiest to use a rubber spatula at first, then toss and shake the entire bowl to finish coating.)
  5. Finally, transfer the sauced tofu to a platter, garnish, then serve immediately. Enjoy!


  • The flax mixture thickens as it sits so try to work quickly and efficiently.
  • Depending on the moisture left in the tofu you may need extra flour to coat. Keep in mind the liquid will want to absorb the flour.
  • Keep in mind that cast iron retains more heat than aluminum so cooking times may vary.
  • A few delicious ways to enjoy this recipe is to pair alongside rice, with vegetables, or with kimchi in tacos. There are so many options!
  • I hope you enjoyed this recipe! For more food inspiration or for other dishes to pair alongside, please visit the Kitchen Journal.