East book cover East by Meera Sodha

I don’t have a restaurant, but if I did, this would be on my “specials” board because it’s delicious and I’d want you to try it. This is a rogue version of the Korean braised tofu called dubu jorim. The rogue ingredient is pear, which adds lovely body and a sweetness to the dish. This dish goes well with steamed broccoli and rice.

note / I doubled this recipe when it was photographed, so there is more sauce in the photo than you’ll get if you cook one batch (but feel free to double the whole recipe to feed 4 or just the sauce if you like your tofu saucy).

Serves 2 as a main


10 oz extra-firm tofu

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 tbsp honey (or agave syrup if vegan)

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1/2 inch ginger, peeled and grated

1 Bartlett pear, grated

4 green onions, finely chopped, whites and greens separated

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 1/2 tsp gochujang paste

2 tbsp canola oil

a handful of black and white sesame seeds, to serve


Lightly press the tofu block between your hands over the sink to get rid of as much water as possible, then wrap in paper towels and leave to one side.

Place the soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, pear, green onion whites, sesame oil, gochujang, and 1 tablespoon of water into a bowl and whisk to mix. Remove the tofu from the kitchen paper and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. 

Coat the bottom of a large non-stick frying pan with the canola oil and line a plate with a couple of sheets of paper towel. Heat the oil until it reaches smoking point and fry the tofu slices for 8 minutes until golden on both sides. Remove the tofu to the plate, allowing the paper to absorb some of the excess oil.

Remove all but a tablespoon of oil from the pan. Add the soy and honey sauce and stir for a minute, then put the tofu back into the pan and cook for 5 minutes until the sauce reduces and becomes glossy and thick.

To serve, place the tofu in a serving dish, pour the sauce over the top, and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and remaining green onion.

Excerpted from EAST by Meera Sodha. Copyright © 2020 by Meera Sodha . Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by David Loftus.