Tofu – A History
Choosing the right type of tofu can be hard. However it is possible to find the right type for you based on the dish that you want to make! Tofu, a food of Chinese origin, is soy bean curd made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curd into a block. That hardly sounds appetising, and for good reason. Tofu has very little flavour or smell on its own. Also if you do not prepare it properly, it can be quite unappetising. However, prepared properly, you can make an absolutely delicious vegetarian tofu that will make even non vegetarians ask for your recipe!
There are three basic types of fresh vegetarian tofu: Soft or silken tofu, Asian firm tofu, and Western firm or dried tofu. Soft or silken tofu is also referred to as ‘smooth tofu’ or ‘silk-filtered tofu’. This vegetarian tofu has the highest moisture content of fresh tofu because it is undrained. Many people describe the texture of this particular tofu as that of a very fine custard. Traditionally, this soft tofu is made with seawater. This tofu is the best tofu for making a vegetarian tofu desert because of its texture. This tofu is so soft that it cannot even be eaten with chop sticks, which is how tofu is traditionally eaten in its country of origin. You can sweeten this tofu into a vegetarian tofu desert very easily.
Asian Firm Tofu
Asian firm tofu is the second basic type of fresh vegetarian tofu. This tofu is not nearly as moisture filled as soft tofu because it is drained and pressed. Despite this, it still contains a large amount of moisture. A good way to describe it is that is has the same firmness of raw meat, but instead of staying down when pressed, it bounces back. Inside of this vegetarian tofu is like firm custard. This tofu’s skin has the same pattern of the muslin it was drained with, and it is firmer than the inside. Unlike soft tofu, it can be easily picked up with chopsticks. This particular type of tofu is great for a vegetarian tofu recipe like fried tofu or vegetarian tofu and beans.
Western Firm/Dried Tofu
The third basic type of fresh vegetarian tofu is Western firm or dried tofu. This is an extra firm type of tofu and it has the lowest moisture content of any fresh tofu. It feels like fully cooked meat, but it still has a rubbery feel to it. When this vegetarian tofu is fully cooked, it can crumble easy. This is a favorite as a salad topper for a vegetarian trying to get more protein into their system. Like Asian firm tofu, the skin of this tofu is the same pattern of the muslin it was drained with. Sometimes the pattern is missing because the tofu is milled and reformed after the pressing. This type of vegetarian tofu is also great for a stir fry recipe.
No matter what type of tofu you are using, you can create a delicious tofu meal or dish as long as you prepare it correctly. Make sure to pick the proper type of tofu to prepare your dish, or else the dish will not turn out how you desire it to. If you’d like to try tofu without all the hassle of having to make it yourself, why not try some of our award winning products here!