Tubu Bokkum-Bap (Spicy Korean Tofu)

This is a stinky hot dish. Tofu and sauteed veges, in a hot pepper & garlic sauce, served over rice.

And what it isn't is what the Chinese call "smelly tofu" or, somewhat less commonly, "stinky tofu." Chinese smelly tofu is fermented. As you'll note below, my ingredient list does not call for fermented tofu. So, notwithstanding the link to a former version of this page from some article at Anai Rhodes' website, this recipe has nothing to do with fermented tofu. When I say that this tofu is smelly, I mean that it smells. Nothing more than that.


  • 3 T. oil (I use olive oil, but anything is fine)
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 3 T. kochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste)
  • 1 T. cayenne pepper
  • 1 2/3 T. sugar
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 1/4 lb. brocolli flowerettes
  • 1 lb. firm tofu, drained & sliced
  • 4 green onions
  • 3 T. water
  • 1 T. sesame oil
The kochujang is the only ingredient you may have trouble finding. It's a Korean thing, so hie thee to a Korean food mart.


  1. Saute garlic, carrots, and onion in olive oil (or whatever oil) for several minutes in a large pan (I use a 12-inch cast iron pan).
  2. Mix kochujang, cayenne pepper, sugar, and soy sauce in a small bowl. (You can leave the cayenne out if you want this dish to be mild - though remember that the kochujang is, by itself, spicy - and if you like things really spicy, toss in 2 T. of cayenne, or even more.)
  3. Add mixture, brocolli, green onions, and tofu to pan. Mix gently until vegetables and tofu are covered with pepper sauce.
  4. Add water (if you didn't drain the tofu well, you may want to skip adding water) to pan and cover. Let steam for a few minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Add sesame oil, mix gently.
Serve hot, over rice.

cooking rice, korean style

For you barbarians who eat long grain rice and put butter on your rice, here is a quick primer on Korean rice.

Use short grain rice. Medium grain is also acceptable, but choose short grain if you have a choice. Uncooked rice labeled "sushi" rice is also fine. Short grain rice sticks together when cooked properly. That's what it's supposed to do. (Which reminds me - use white rice. Brown rice doesn't stick as it should.)

For the above dish, I prepare two cups of rice:

  1. Combine 2 c. of uncooked rice and 2 1/2 c. cold water in a pot and cover.
  2. Bring it to a boil, remove cover, stir thoroughly.
  3. Replace cover and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Let simmer for twenty minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and let sit for ten minutes.
It's ready.