Different Types of Tofu Products and How to Use Them

Different Types of Tofu Products and How to Use Them

There are many different types of tofu products that are commonly used in Asian cooking, and each one has its own texture and unique characteristics. Here are some of the main types of tofu that are available in grocery stores with descriptions of how they are generally used:

  1. Regular Firm Tofu: This is the most common type of tofu found in stores, and it has a firm and solid texture. Firm tofu retains its shape well during cooking, is versatile, and is good for a variety of dishes. It can be used in stir-fries, curries, grilled or baked dishes, soups, and can even be utilized in desserts.
    1. Soft Tofu: Soft tofu, sometimes called medium tofu, has a creamy and slightly crumbly texture. It is more delicate and less firm than regular firm tofu discussed above. Soft tofu is commonly used in soups, stews, hot pots, as well as steamed and braised dishes. It absorbs flavors well and adds a creamy consistency to dishes. It can also be served as is or with soy sauce and grated ginger.
    1. Silken Tofu: This type of tofu has a softer and much more delicate texture than regular firm tofu. It has a higher water content than soft tofu and is often packaged in water. Silken tofu is perfect for blending into creamy sauces, soups, smoothies, dressings, and desserts. It can also be used in vegan custards or as a substitute for eggs in recipes like vegan scrambled eggs.
    1. Extra Firm Tofu: Extra firm tofu has a dense and sturdy texture, making it suitable for grilling, baking, or frying. It keeps its shape exceptionally well because it has less water in it, making it a good choice for kebabs, skewers, stir-fries, and dishes where you want the tofu to maintain its form. Because it is so firm, it is easier to work with than softer tofu.

    1. Sprouted Tofu: Sprouted tofu is made from soybeans that have been sprouted before processing. It is similar in texture to regular firm tofu, but has a slightly nuttier and sweeter flavor. Sprouted tofu is becoming more common these days and can be used in a variety of dishes, such as stir-fries, curries, and grilled preparations.
    1. Smoked Tofu: Smoked tofu has an unmistakable smoky flavor and a firm texture. It is usually seasoned and/or marinated, giving it a robust taste in addition to the smoky accents. Smoked tofu is fantastic in salads, sandwiches, stir-fries, and grilled dishes. It can add complex flavors to recipes without the addition of extra seasonings.
    1. Fermented Tofu: This type of tofu is also sometimes referred to as ‘stinky tofu’ because it has gone through a fermentation process. It is especially common in savory dishes in Taiwan and China. It can also be eaten as is. Fermented tofu has the strongest and most distinct flavor of all the types of tofu discussed here. White fermented tofu is made by fermenting tofu in a brine that contains rice wine, salt, and other seasonings. It has a creamy texture and a mild, slightly sweet, and tangy flavor. White fermented tofu is often used in stir-fries, sauces, and as a condiment. Red fermented tofu is made by fermenting tofu in a brine that contains red yeast, rice, salt, and various spices. It has a stronger, more pungent flavor compared to white fermented tofu. Red fermented tofu is commonly used as a seasoning or ingredient in braised dishes, soups, and sauces.

    These are just a few of the common types of tofu commonly used in Asian and western cuisines. New tofu products are always appearing in grocery stores and it is a lot of fun experimenting with the different options. If you are new to tofu, we recommend beginning with the types listed above. Remember that tofu takes on the flavors of other ingredients so get creative with it!

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