Chef's Cooking Tips

Choosing the Right Tofu

Atsuko Ikeda's Tips

Many types of tofu are used in Japanese cooking, but which kind is best for which dish? Find out here. See Vegetable Stir-Fry with House Foods Premium Tofu Extra Firm

Many types of tofu are regularly used in Japanese cooking, all made from the same simple ingredients: soy beans, nigari (a coagulant) and water. Tofu is great to cook with because it is a super-versatile ingredient with several different firmness options. House Foods Premium Tofu Extra Firm and Firm are great meat substitutes, working well in stir-fries, grilled dishes and even as steak. Firmer tofu is a central ingredient in mabo dofu, Chinese stir-fried tofu with chilli bean paste. Medium Firm tofu is perfect for pasta sauces, stews and wraps. Soft and Extra Soft tofu can be blended into delicious dressings and purées, and desserts or smoothies.

Whatever type you’re using, it’s important to remove excess water. This makes it easier for other flavours to penetrate the tofu, and ensures the tofu doesn’t crumble when cooked. Simply cut the tofu into the size you require, wrap the pieces in a paper towel, then leave for 10 minutes. Cutting it up first really helps; water will drain more quickly from smaller pieces.

There’s also a knack to keeping tofu fresh. Tofu that has been opened should be placed in a plastic container and covered with fresh water, and put in the fridge. It should keep for 2-3 days after opening if stored in this way. If the tofu is stored in such a way that the surface of the block is in direct contact with air, the tofu will become sour and will quickly start to go off.

For more information: House Foods Premium Tofu

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