Spicy & Crunchy Garlic Tofu (Kkanpoong Tofu)

Spicy and Crunchy Garlic Tofu

Why Did I Veganize This Dish?

I came up with this Spicy & Crunchy Garlic Tofu recipe because it needed to happen. Like, there was a gaping maw in the universe that could only be filled once this recipe was created.

Ok, putting to one side my illusions of grandeur, let’s just say that this recipe was borne out nostalgia. Growing up, my family and I would go to this Korean-Chinese restaurant in K-Town called Great Seas. Great Seas was absolutely famous for its chicken wings, or Kkanpoongi. Their walls were covered in photos of happy dinners who set and broke the “how many wings can you eat in one sitting” challenge, and it was no secret why. Their sauce was so good, it was jarred, labeled, and sold by the gallon. My family would go to Great Seas for all sorts of special occasions—birthdays, graduations, the day after a juice fast. When I went vegan, I knew I would basically never be able to eat anything at Great Seas again, so I set out to veganize it. And boy, was I ELATED with the results!

Put simply, this is literally the BEST EVER tofu recipe I’ve ever made and I’m pretty sure it’ll be the same for you!

My Tricks For Making This Recipe.

  • Make sure to press your extra firm tofu to remove excess liquid. This will ensure your tofu chunks are nice and crunchy.
  • Use potato starch in lieu of corn starch or flour to not only keep this dish gluten free, but to make your tofu extra crispy.
  • Use my favorite gluten free soy sauce in order to keep this entire recipe gluten free!
  • Use vegetable oil in lieu of extra virgin olive oil in order to ratchet up the heat.
  • Make sure not to allow the crunchy tofu bites to sit in the sauce too long before serving—the longer they sit in the sauce, the softer they will become.
  • Serve with rice and water—this dish is SPICY!!

Other Dishes To Try:

Video: Watch Me Make It

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Spicy and Crunchy Garlic Tofu

Spicy & Crunchy Garlic Tofu (Kkanpoong Tofu)

Joanne Molinaro
5 from 13 votes
Servings 2


  • 1 16 ounce block extra firm tofu pressed and chopped into 1/2 inch bite sized chunks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons potato starch plus 1 extra teaspoon
  • 7 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 red onion diced
  • 2 Korean green chilis, sliced can sub seeded jalapenos
  • 2 whole scallions white parts chopped, green parts sliced on a bias
  • 1 Tablespoon gochagaru
  • 1-1 1/2 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 Tablespoon mirin can leave out if you don't have any
  • 4+1 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/8 cup dried red chilis can leave out if you don't have any
  • 1/2 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


  • To a large bowl, add a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons of potato starch to tofu chunks. Gently toss the tofu to make sure they are all evenly coated. Set aside.
  • Prep your vegetables by mincing the garlic, dicing the onion, slicing the Korean chilis, and chopping up the scallions.
  • Prepare the sauce by mixing together gochugaru, soy sauce, white wine vinegar, maple syrup, mirin, and 1 teaspoon of potato starch. Set aside.
  • To a very large non-stick pan, add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil over high heat. When oil is very hot, add coated tofu chunks in one layer,making sure they are not touching each other. If they touch, they will stick to one another.
  • Cook the tofu and flip them one by one, until they are brown on all sides (approximately 7 minutes). Remove the tofu chunks from the pan and set them aside on a cooling rack to drain the excess oil. Repeat with the remaining tofu.
  • When all of the tofu has been fried, in the same pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Then add the garlic, onions, chilis, and scallions and saute the vegetables until the garlic starts to brown.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the sauce, stirring it with a wooden spoon until it reduces down into a thick sauce (approximately 30 seconds). Turn off the heat.
  • Gently add back the fried tofu and stir everything together, so that the tofu chunks are evenly coated in your sauce.
  • Garnish the tofu with ½ tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

Questions & Comments

July 13, 2020

Join The Discussion

  1. Vic Yepello says:

    5 stars
    I’ve longed for a recipe that can make me really love tofu. This recipe does just that for me.

  2. debs says:

    5 stars
    This is just so delicious! I cannot get enough!

  3. Renata says:

    5 stars
    This is simply so amazing, no matter how many times I tried, i could never manage to make crispy pan fried tofu but this one was just perfect!! Spicy, a little sweet, a little salty, so delicious!!!

  4. Ulrika Edlund says:

    5 stars
    Supernice! I make this once a week.

  5. Shivani Mehta says:

    5 stars
    Have made this a dozen times already it’s the best!!! I air fry the tofu bits instead of frying them in a pan and it turns out perfect every time

  6. Nisha says:

    The soy sauce.. is it light soy sauce, dark soy sauce or sweet soy sauce?

  7. Kayla Forcey says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! Definitely going on the recipe rotation. Love the spicy garlilckly flavors & how crunchy the tofu gets.

  8. the.krn.vegan@gmail.com says:

    Caitlin! I’m so glad you like this recipe! I came up with it because I too miss some of my Korean faves. 🙂 And thank you for your very kind words about my photography! And the pottery is by Aron over at Facture Goods! He’s amazing.

  9. Elise says:

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing! It worked beautifully even though I used gochujang in place of gochugaru (I slightly decreased the amount of soy sauce to account for the added paste and found that the texture was perfectly fine).

    • the.krn.vegan@gmail.com says:

      Elise, that is BRILLIANT!! I will pass that tip along to anyone who asks for a sub for gochugaru. Thank you!!!!

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