Korean Chili Tofu Salad

with kimchi chips

Over the weekend, I was invited to the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York to demo a recipe. Specifically, a Korean recipe. That may sound odd as I am definitely not Korean. I do love Korean food, though, and my hosts were looking to showcase how Korean food is becoming more popular, beyond just bibimbap (not that bibimbap isn’t amazingly good). I was happy to oblige. Kramer and I eat Korean food often. It’s one of my favorite things to order in after a long day when I just want something comforting, or it’s the perfect thing to eat out with a large group of friends, because Korean meals are very much a communal affair. Anyway, I was sent a variety of Korean products for inspiration. I was really interested in the dried kimchi chips. Sure, there were lots of tasty sauces and seaweed snacks, but I adore kimchi and the possibilities for crunchy kimchi goodness seemed endless. I had to put the chips on a salad, so I opted for a tofu salad because tofu is quite the opposite of crunchy. I marinated the tofu in a sweet and spicy Korean chili sauce, which is something you can find at most grocery stores now, then tossed the cubed and cooked tofu with bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, scallions and seaweed. I topped everything with my new favorite kimchi chips and got to eating. You can serve this hot or chilled, which is great for dinner one evening and lunch the next day. I served this salad on top of a big bed of arugula, ate it cold, and wished that I had just a little bit more.

Chili Tofu SaladClam bake seasoning from last weekend’s BBQ.

The demo went well. I arrived and was shown to two talented culinary students who got to work prepping enough samples to feed the crowd – I think they made enough for 150 people! Clearly they were much more talented than me, and their knife skills showed it. It felt weird to have someone else cook my recipe in front of me. Weird in a good way, though, because the end product tasted the same as what I had originally made, and that’s the goal, right? Anyway, I’m getting more and more comfortable cooking in front of people, so any chance to practice that is much appreciated. After the demo, Kramer and I walked the floor a bit. We couldn’t spend all day there because I would have immediately gained 20 pounds from all of the delicious food available. We had tons of cheese, dips and spreads, a few sweets here and there, and lots of fun snacks that I’d never seen before, particularly from Korea and Japan. I even had a baby peach! They were totally green and soft and super sweet. I’m going to be on the lookout for them. My other favorite was banana flavored soy milk. Delicious.

Chili Tofu Salad

After forcing ourselves to leave before we stuffed ourselves silly, Kramer and I met up with some friends to watch the World Cup in the city. Sadly, Mexico lost, but we still had a margarita because that’s just what you should do. We went home to relax for a bit before heading to a bar near us for the Greece and Costa Rica game, which ended up being quite the nail biter. Thankfully it was an exciting game, because Kramer and I woke up early after a late Saturday night for the demo, and if we sat on our couch for another second at home, we’d have fallen asleep and then not been able to fall back asleep when it was actually time for bed. That happens to us way too often. After the game, we watched The X-Files at home while I made curried salmon and snap peas for dinner, because we needed something green and healthy after our big day. Let’s see if I can continue to eat well this week before our big Fourth of July trip!

Chili Tofu SaladThe start of a good clam bake.

Chili Tofu SaladKramer hard at work.

Chili Tofu SaladKramer and Shahab.

Chili Tofu SaladLadies!

Chili Tofu SaladChili Tofu SaladChili Tofu SaladMeat.

Chili Tofu SaladChili Tofu SaladHalle being adorable.

Chili Tofu SaladClam bake perfection.

Chili Tofu SaladHello, NYC.

Chili Tofu SaladDried kimchi chips! Cool, right?

Chili Tofu SaladMarinate your tofu.

Chili Tofu SaladThen brown your tofu in a pan for a few minutes.

Chili Tofu SaladChop your other vegetables and set aside until ready to toss everything together.

Chili Tofu SaladGarnish and serve.

Chili Tofu Salad

Chili Tofu Salad with kimchi chips and seaweed
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
Sweet and spicy tofu salad made with seaweed and dried kimchi chips.
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 14 ounces firm tofu
  • ¼ cup Korean chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced into rounds
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 2 sheets nori, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup dried kimchi chips (or fresh kimchi, if chips are unavailable)
  1. Cube the tofu into bite-sized pieces and toss with the chili sauce and soy sauce. Set aside to allow the tofu to soak up the marinade.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sliced bell pepper, jalapeño and lime juice. Add in 3⁄4 of your sliced scallions and 3⁄4 of your sliced nori, saving some for garnish. Toss to combine.
  3. Heat your oil in a heavy bottomed pan, such as cast iron. Cook your tofu over medium-high heat, until browned on all sides and the sauce has slightly reduced.
  4. Toss together the cooked tofu with your other vegetables. Add in the kimchi chips and toss once more. Garnish with remaining scallions and nori. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve chilled.


5 Responses

  1. I’ve never had kimchi chips before, but now I need to find them. This salad sounds great!

  2. dayisnight says:

    Can you show a picture of the chili sauce, or what it’s called? I live in Korea and there are several different kinds.

  3. Gosh oh rootie tootie what an experience you had! Fun! I can understand how you could have gained
    20 lbs. I lack a major exposure to Korean food except for Kim Chee. I look forward to other future

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