These these sweet and spicy Korean tofu noodle bowls couldn't be easier to whip up, or more delicious! Dress some soba noodles and crispy pan-fried tofu cubes in gochujang sauce, serve it up with pineapple chunks and kimchi, then dig in.
Okay, so these aren't really authentic Korean noodle bowls, or if they are it's totally by accident, but let's not worry so much about that. I found myself with some pineapple, and some kimchi, and I ended up here, and here with these noodle bowls is a lovely place to be.
This was one of my favorite recipes of the summer. Yeah, summer. Oops. It's kind of amazing that it was a favorite, because somehow the photos ended up buried in my laptop, totally forgotten, until today. Things have been busy lately, and as a result, my posting schedule has gotten a bit wacky, and usually when things get wacky is just about when I discover (awesome) forgotten recipes that need to make their way onto this site.
Anyhow, in case I haven't conveyed this already, these bowls were really good. The tofu cooking technique is one I've used a few times on this site before (check out my orange ginger tofu and bourbon tofu stir-fry). It's awesome because it's so simple: dredge your tofu in some cornstarch and pan-fry until nice and crispy. Never fail me. This gives you some tofu that seriously stands up to sauce, and these bowls have some intense sauce going on. If you think you're not a fan of tofu, give this a try (or either one of the other recipes linked above). I think you'll change your mind.
The sauce is spicy, but apparently pretty tasty too, because my husband happily sniffled his way to the bottom of his bowl, which is always a good sign. Even though I made this intending it to be a summer recipe (hence the pineapple), I think the spicy kimchi and gochujang will do a nice job of warming you up on those forthcoming chilly days.
Crispy Korean Tofu Noodle Bowls
- 9 ounces dried soba noodles*
For the Sauce:
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 to 4 tablespoons gochujang
- 2 cups pineapple chunks
For the Crispy Tofu
- 1 pound extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
- ¼ to ⅓ cup cornstarch
- about ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup vegan kimchi, or more!
- 2 scallions, chopped
- sesame seeds
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add soba noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain into a colander.
Prepare sauce by stirring pineapple juice, maple syrup, soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic together in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and add 3 to 4 tablespoons of gochujang, to taste. Stir until gochujang is completely mixed in, then stir in the pineapple chunks. Lower heat and allow to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, while you prepare the tofu.
Coat the bottom of a large nonstick skillet generously with oil and place over medium heat. Place the cornstarch into a medium bowl and add tofu. Toss to coat. Working in batches if needed, add tofu cubes in an even layer to the skillet. Cook for about 10 minutes, flipping a couple of times, until crispy on multiple sides. Transfer tofu to a paper towel-lined plate.
Divide noodles into bowls. Top with tofu, sauce, kimchi, scallions and sesame seeds. Serve.
*If you don't have soba noodles on hand, I'm sure you could substitute another variety of noodle, like udon, ramen, or even spaghetti.