Sweet and crunchy tofu

Dubu-gangjeong 두부강정

Let me introduce you to Dubu-gangjeong (두부강정), sweet, spicy, and crunchy tofu!

It’s part of Korean Buddhist temple cuisine. When I went to Korea to study their cooking techniques and dishes I tasted it many times. I had it in an upscale, expensive temple cuisine restaurant in Seoul and in Buddhist temple in the mountain, eating with the monks. No matter where I went it was always the most popular thing on the table!

Making this dish is so easy. It’s like making my super-popular sweet, sour, & spicy Korean fried chicken yangnyeom-tongdak recipe, except instead of chicken there is tofu, and with no garlic at all because it’s a forbidden ingredient in Korean temple cuisine (along with meat, onions, chives, and scallions).

This will be a great dish for any vegetarian but anyone who likes spicy fried chicken will love it, too! Enjoy the recipe! ~


Serves 4

  • 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • 14 ounces to 1 pound firm or medium firm tofu, cut into bite size pieces
  • ¼ cup potato starch
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds (optional)

For seasoning sauce


Make seasoning sauce

  1. Combine all the seasoning sauce ingredients in a skillet. Heat over medium high heat, stirring for about 1 to 2 minutes until bubbling. Remove from the heat and set the skillet aside. We’ll reheat this just before serving.

Coat the tofu

  1. Cut the tofu into 1 x 1½ inch bite sized pieces. Pat dry with kitchen towel or paper towel.
  2. Gently put the tofu into a plastic bag and add the potato starch. Seal the bag and gently turn it over until the tofu is well and evenly coated with the starch.
  3. Remove each piece from the bag individually and transfer to a large plate or a cutting board lined with plastic wrap, leaving some space between the pieces.

Fry the tofu

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet for 5 minutes, until it reaches 330-340°F. Carefully add the tofu pieces one at a time to the hot oil. Turn the heat down to medium and let the tofu cook for about about 2 to 3 minutes, until the bottom turns light brown and the surface is a little crispy .
  2. Turn the tofu pieces with tongs or a slotted spoon—they should be firm enough to turn without breaking—and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes, occasionally turning so that all sides turn light brown and crispy. Remove from the skillet and set in a wire mesh strainer set over a bowl.

… and then time to double-fry!

  1. Reheat the oil for 1 minute over medium-high heat and fry all the tofu again for 3 to 4  minutes, rotating and turning them over with tongs or long wooden chopsticks, until all sides are golden brown and crunchy.
  2. Transfer the tofu to the strainer set over a bowl to drain the excess oil.

Handle pumpkin seeds

  1. If you use pumpkin seeds, put them into a slotted spoon and dip them into the hot oil to fry them for just 10 seconds or so. Transfer the seeds to a small bowl and turn off the heat.

Coat and serve

  1. Reheat the sauce in the skillet until bubbling. Add the fried tofu and gently mix all together until they are well coated.
  2. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over top. Serve as a side dish for rice. 두부강정

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  1. Maangchi_fan Florida joined 10/22 & has 1 comment

    Hi! I am so excited to try this recipe! Is it possible to substitute ketchup for tomato sauce and brown rice syrup for rice syrup? Thanks !

  2. Wangtamer Florida, US joined 11/20 & has 2 comments

    I’ve been wanting to get better with vegetarian cooking since a lot of my friends are vegetarians and I love cooking for people, so I decided to play with frying tofu in corn starch today! Obviously since I couldn’t decide on a sauce my first reaction was just to scroll through your site to get ideas, and this was absolutely perfect! It came out amazing, this is definitely gonna be one of my regular tofu meals for sure

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  3. Mylesh Baltimore, MD joined 1/22 & has 2 comments

    My tofu was at best firm. But, I used an air fryer and it turned out great (exc for a few soft spots in the tofu). No oil used so extra healthy. Added chopped spring onions on top, with basmati rice.
    Perfect, easy dinner.

  4. taitummeyer Chicago joined 5/21 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi, I bought gochujang because my friends bought some and told me I needed it. I had tofu in the fridge that needed cooking and found your recipe. This is so so delicious and I dont want to eat anything else for the rest of my life. I did not have pumpkin seeds but I cooked some Bok Choy in my sauce. I put it all over rice. It is very good!!

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  5. SarahGermany Braunschweig, Germany joined 8/20 & has 1 comment

    Tried the recipe for the first time and I’m in love with it.
    I just the recipe for meal prepping and I fried som broccoli and bell pepper in the remaining sauce for a little extra.
    I didn’t had rice sirup so I just honey instead.

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  6. Jsalcedo Pasadena, California joined 7/20 & has 1 comment

    I had some tofu that I wanted to use, so I did a search on the Maangchi website and found this recipe. Since I had most of the ingredients (I did not have pumpkin seeds so I substituted toasted sesame seeds) I decided to make it. Easy to make and the texture was great!!!! Crunchy on the outside and almost creamy on the inside. The flavors were great. It was hard to stop eating it. I was disappointed when I ate the last piece…. I wanted more.

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  7. hel Melbourne, Aus joined 7/20 & has 1 comment

    I made this dish for my housemate and I, both of us have been vegetarian for a few years now and love tofu. My housemate said this is the best way he has had tofu!!! We used honey instead of rice syrup as it’s all we had, and sesame seeds instead of pumpkin seeds but still turned out great! Super crunchy, right amount of spicy! Next time I’ll make with spring onion salad and white rice ^_^

  8. Emile Kentucky joined 7/20 & has 2 comments

    This recipe is amazing! To deglaze the pan, I added about a tablespoon of rice vinegar, and heated it up until it became a sauce. This is delicious on top of the finished tofu!

  9. BLMSaxon USA joined 6/20 & has 3 comments

    What is everyone else having? I could eat this all by myself!

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  10. henalpatel Los Angeles joined 6/20 & has 1 comment

    I was making Tteokbokki the other day. I have gotten used to making pretty good Konbu/Anchovy stock. I was wondering if adding this stock to this marinade and reducing it down will make this dish better. Should I add this stock to everything since it add so umami?

  11. tkim10 Illinois joined 6/20 & has 1 comment

    I don’t have potato starch on hand. Would corn starch be an acceptable substitute?

  12. MaangchiLove Montreal, Toronto joined 8/19 & has 53 comments

    Yum! Followed maangchi’s recipe exactly this time ❤️

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