Dubu Samgyupsal Jorim – Tofu & Pork Belly in Pepper Sauce


My grandmother, my dad’s mother, is an awesome cook. At my grandparent’s house in Korean they used chosun soy sauce that’s been passed down for generations, made kimchi and fermented it in the traditional claypots outside, made doenjang from scratch, and for celebratory events even made dduk from scratch. Everything was from scratch and everything was delicious. This tofu recipe comes from this side of the family and it is really a treasure. It has pork belly. How can it not be?

I had a hard time trying to translate jorim. It’s most often translated as a braise but that’s not quite it. The western braise usually consists of searing and cooking over low heat in a small amount of liquid, trying to keep the moisture intact in the dish. Jorim is a bit different. The verb “jo-ree-dah” means to reduce. So in making a jorim you are essentially reducing the sauce and the ingredients by cooking it down together. Perhaps a dictionary will clear this up. Anyone?

First you need to fry up some firm tofu. Make sure it’s drained well to reduce splattering. Meanwhile boil the pork belly chunks in water to parcook it. Slice the pork about the same width as the tofu and arrange them in a wide pan with the pork belly slices on the bottom. Now for the sauce. It’s mainly gochujang (Korean pepper paste) with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, sesame seed, and water to really loosen it up. The water’s going to evaporate anyways and you need the sauce that goes in to be pretty loose so the dish doesn’t get too salty. Now pour the sauce over the layered tofu and pork, top with one inch slices of scallion, cover and simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Check on it though to make sure there’s enough moisture in the pan and that nothing is burning. My mom and I love to add mushrooms to this dish. I used king oyster mushroom and it works great because it’s pretty mild flavored and it soaks up the sauce well.

Eat with rice!


6 thoughts on “Dubu Samgyupsal Jorim – Tofu & Pork Belly in Pepper Sauce

  1. omg. it’s 2.25 am here. i really shouldn’t think about this now. i love king oyster mushrooms, i’m sure it soaks up all the flavours of the pork and spices wonderfully….

  2. this is actually one of my favorite korean dishes. have you ever tried making it with just the kimchi and the pork belly and then using soft tofu as substitute for the rice? I LOVE BOTH WAYS!

  3. hi santos, anytime is a good time to think about pork belly, right? 😉

    hi hannah, you mean kimchi dubu? i love that too. kimchi and pork is a stellar combo imo.

  4. Hmm, sounds like a Korean version of (Filipino) adobo to me. In fact, the first time I had gamja (potato, for those who don’t speak Korean) jorim, I immediately thought of the potatoes my mom would put in her adobo to stretch out the food, especially when a large group of people were waiting.

    As for your dictionary-like entry, how about “reduction stew”?

  5. hi ellen, i went on my lil korean food spree. 🙂

    hi ed, i’ve tried chicken adobo which is quite yummy. but it wasn’t spicy like the dubu jorim. i think reduction stew may fit the bill. 🙂 i guess braise is ok too. reduction braise?

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