Tofu is just as exciting as any bowl of vegan ribs to Joanne Lee Molinaro. That’s because the popular food blogger known as The Korean Vegan has never thought of tofu as bland or texturally boring, but instead as the life of the party.
Molinaro says that tofu was just another ingredient in many Korean dishes she grew up eating, including kimchi jjigae. “Tofu, for me, is something that I’ve been eating my whole life, so going plant-based was easier for me,” Molinaro says. “The number of times I’ve been asked, ‘Can somebody just explain what tofu is because I don’t really quite get it?’ I didn’t have to go through that transition, it was already something that was a staple of my diet.”
To Molinaro, the ease of making this dish is a big part of its appeal.
“I love recipes that are absolutely ‘stupid proof.’ You can call it ‘noobie proof’ or ‘I’m exhausted from work proof’ or ‘I barely know how to boil water proof,’ too,” she says, laughing. “We’ve all been there: For whatever reason, your brain is on autopilot, and therefore, the recipe better be damn near automated lest you burn your house to the ground.”
If you’re having friends over, this dish makes for a great evening, Molinaro says. Having the sauce for the dish ready in your fridge means that it’s the perfect no-notice dinner. The level of braising depends on your preference, from a quick braise to a long braise, to simply pouring the sauce over the top.
“This is one of those rare recipes that practically makes itself but looks and tastes like you slaved over it all day long. I keep it in my arsenal for quick meals and dinner parties alike—it never fails to satisfy.”
From THE KOREAN VEGAN COOKBOOK: REFLECTIONS AND RECIPES FROM OMMA’S KITCHEN by Joanne Lee Molinaro, to be published on 10/12/2021 by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2021 Joanne Lee Molinaro