If you all know anything about me, it’s that I love veganizing omni eats… so I was already intrigued when I first heard Marly’s idea. But once I saw the details–and that there was a bulgogi Philly Cheesesteak involved–I got more than excited. I was elated. And then I quickly became on a mission to bring back a food that I used to eat at least twice a week: bulgogi.
You see, even though I may reside in the middle of Ohio (land of corn), I have been surrounded by a fairly large Korean community since I was wee little. Heck, even my son has Korean roots. And from the exposure to such a great culture, I have eaten my fair share of bulgogi, kalbi, kimchi, kimbap, bibimbap, mandu, loads of banchan and many more traditional Korean dishes.
Bulgogi was always around, as my son’s Korean grandmother religiously kept a giant vat of bulgogi marinade tucked away in her fridge. And, even though I used to love the stuff back in the day, bulgogi hasn’t crossed my mind in years since shunning meat.
But man, am I ever happy to have it back in my life! This tofu rendition tastes amazing. I really do think it tastes better than the traditional stuff. Seriously, try it. I was even snacking on it uncooked… yum!
- First, make sure your tofu is very well drained. Wrap it up in towels and press between two plates with something heavy on top to get all that water out. I pressed mine for well over an hour.
- Once it has drained for a good long time, slice the block in half.
- Then, make thin slices to the tofu to resemble little tofu steaks.
- Arrange them in a deepish dish where they will be able to soak up lots of marinade.
- Then cover the tofu slices with your chopped onions, green onions, ginger and garlic.
- In medium sized bowl, combine the tamari, sesame oil, sugar, black pepper, mirin, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes and shredded pear. Stir really well to complete mix all ingredients together. Pour over tofu and veggies.
- Cover and place into the refrigerator. Let marinate at least 8 hours. It’s really great to do this overnight… a little longer than 8 hours wont hurt anything. In fact, it may even help!
- After 8 hours has passed, separate the tofu strips from the marinade. Reserve the veggies and sauce for cooking.
- Heat up a cast iron skillet (or other handy dandy pan) over medium heat and drizzle with some sesame oil.
- When your skillet is nice and hot, place the strips into the pan in an even layer so that there is adequate room for them to fry up. When you place the tofu in the pan, it should sizzle. (I cooked my tofu in two batches)
- Pour enough of the marinade onto the tofu just to cover… make sure some of those veggies get in there too!
- Let cook until most of the marinade has reduced, and the bottoms of the tofu slices are nice and caramely brown. Flip over tofu strips and cook until other side turns brown. Continue to cook until all tofu has transformed into delicious Korean bulgogi tofu. Serve over rice!