Before going vegan I was obsessed with this super spicy Korean dish. It’s one of those dishes that is so spicy that you have to keep eating more and more in order to not let the heat catch up with you. And then there is this melted mozzarella cheese on top? And Italian seasoning? But it all makes sense because the unctuousness of the cheese helps to douse some of the fire. I’ve always loved the dish for how ballsy it is, but also for its balance and complexity. For this recipe, I’ve modified the buldak recipe from Koreatown: A Cookbook by Deuki Hong and Matt Robard; using Soy Curls as my protein. The spice in this version isn’t quite as hot as I remember, but it definitely isn’t for those snowflakes who sweat at the sight of paprika. This dish could easily be made using tofu, or even just a bunch of vegetables. As with most things in life, it’s all about the sauce.
Serves 4 to 6
- The “Chicken” (recipe below)
- The Sauce (recipe below)
- ½ cup (or more) grated vegan mozzarella (I used Violife)
- Green onions, sliced into 1 inch pieces
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Italian seasoning
- Cooked rice to serve on the side
- About 3 ½ to 4 ounces of dry Soy Curls (avoid using the dust)
- 2 ½ cups very hot water, dashi, or low sodium broth*
- ½ yellow onion, cut into strips
- ½ jalapeno (or more) (or less), thinly sliced
*The sauce base is quite salty due to the tamari, so I would err on the side caution here, and not use a broth, or any liquid that is already salty.
Place the Soy Curls in a bowl, add the hot water, and allow to steep, covered, for about 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, remove the Curls from the bowl, and squeeze out any excess liquid.
Turn a nonstick pan, or well-seasoned cast iron pan to medium-high heat. Add the hydrated and squeezed Soy Curls, onions, and jalapenos. You may add oil to the pan to help with browning, or to prevent the ingredients from sticking, but it isn’t really necessary. Cook until the onions become tender, and the Soy Curls have browned and firmed up slightly–they should go from light and spongy, to a bit chewy.
- 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- ¼ cup gochugaru (Korean chili flake) or about ⅛ cup ancho chili powder
- 3 tablespoons brown rice syrup or agave nectar
- ½ cup tamari, soy sauce, or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- 8 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
- ½ inch knob of ginger, finely grated
- 1/4 cup leftover Soy Curl water, or broth
In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Or , throw everything into a small blender or food processor and blitz until smooth.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit.
When the Soy Curls are cooked, turn the heat down to low, and add the sauce. The Soy Curls might lose some of their firm texture, but allow them to cook until the sauce is mostly absorbed, and they have again regained most of their texture. Stir in the green onions.
If your pan is oven-safe, and you would like to serve the buldak in the pan you cooked it in, then sprinkle your vegan mozzarella on top, add a few dashes of italian seasoning, and place the pan in the oven. Allow the cheese to melt, and brown slightly. Serve warm with rice.
If your pan is not oven safe, pour the sauced Soy Curls into a small baking dish, and then sprinkle your vegan mozzarella on top, add italian seasoning, and then place in the baking dish in the oven. Allow the cheese to melt, and brown slightly. Serve warm with rice.