• Kathryn Fourie

Korean Chili Tofu Fingers

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In 2009 I spent 6 months teaching English in South Korea. Within about 35 minutes of arriving in SK - you will inevitably be introduced to the staple food of kimchi. Kimchi is essentially cabbage that is fermented in a thick, delicious chili paste. Since leaving SK, 11 years ago, I had yet to come across kimchi that tasted anything like the authentic stuff I had during my stay there - until I stumbled onto Ché Gourmet kimchi and fermentables.

Ché is one of the hardest working entrepreneurs I have been lucky enough to e-meet - and she makes the best frikkin' kimchi outside of SK. Not a surprise to find out she also lived there some years ago then, but she spent a full three years learning the tricks of South Korean cooking and cuisine. There is a lot to be said about the health benefits of kimchi - but I'll leave that up to you to read if you like here. On the Ché Gourmet Instagram account there is always useful information being posted about fermented foods - it's 100% worth a follow.

Sometimes, you really just want to eat kimchi straight out of the jar but in an effort to be remotely adult, you need a simple dish that is quick to make, nutritious and will also let the kimchi shine like it's supposed to. This is my take on a handful of fresh salad, topped with a wedge of spicy, crispy protein and topped with a glorious dollop of South Africa's finest kimchi.


Serves 2

  • 1 x 200g block of firm tofu, drained

  • 1 x handful baby tomatoes, halved

  • 1/2 a pineapple, diced

  • 1 butter lettuce

  • Jar of Ché Gourmet Kimchi (you can use others, but I wouldn't recommend it - it will categorically not be the same)

  • Vegan Mayo

  • Spicy Coating: 3 tsp Korean Chili (gochugaru), 1 tsp salt, 80mls chickpea flour (can use corn flour instead), 3 TBSP nutritional yeast, 1 tsp garlic powder. You can make this as spicy as suits your taste buds!

  • NOTE: You can sub gochugaru with paprika or regular chili powder - no sweat


  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.

  • Slice the tofu block into 'steaks' about 1 - 1,5cm thick

  • Using a teaspoon thickly sprinkle the spicy coating all over the tofu steaks. Use the back of the spoon to press it down firmly.

  • Heat a decent amount of oil of your choice in a frying pan (non-stick is best) - medium heat.

  • Lay the tofu steaks down into the heated oil, coated side down.

  • With the uncoated side up, now use the teaspoon to sprinkle on more spicy coating and press it down with the back of the teaspoon.

  • Cook for a few minutes until brown, then flip. Turn off the heat when both sides are nicely brown and crisped.

For the Lettuce Wrappers:

  • Rinse and lightly pat off several large butter lettuce leaves with a tea towel (+- 10)

  • Smear a layer of vegan mayo on the base, and then sprinkle with pineapple and tomato

  • When your tofu steaks have cooled, cut them into fingers and lay one finger in each lettuce cup.

  • Top with +-1 to 2 teaspoons of kimchi (depending on your taste buds!)

  • They are now ready to smash!

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