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How is Tofu Made?

by Toni Olukiran

4min read

The popularity of tofu has catapulted in the last two decades and has become a global favourite, as die-hard fans of southeastern-asian cuisines want to recreate the classics (that’s us!). We’ll break down what tofu is, how beancurd is made, and share some of our favourite tofu recipes.

What is tofu, and how is it made?

Tofu, also known as beancurd, is made through curdling soya milk. This coagulation creates solids which can then be pressed and cooled into a solid block. This is much like the process of cheesemaking. 

Tofu has a history of over 2000 years, being first recorded in the Han dynasty of China. It is said that tofu was created by a Chinese cook who accidentally curdled soy milk by adding nigari seaweed — and the rest is history. Over time the techniques spread to across southeast asia, becoming a staple in Thai, Japanese, and Korean dishes (go and try Joanne AKA the Korean Vegan’s Kkampoong tofu and you’ll know exactly why tofu has stood the test of time).

With more people across the globe appreciating southeastern cuisine – from ingredients and dishes to cooking techniques – classics like Sichuan mapo tofu and pad Thai are becoming a familiar sight at restaurants and takeaways. And tofu itself has become familiar to people of all diets and lifestyles. 

What types of tofu are there?

There are several different types of tofu due to the fact that it can form different textures depending on the water content. The higher the water content, the softer the tofu. 

Silken tofu, which is the softest, tends to have a very high water content, so the texture is crumbly. When blended up, it can be a really great alternative to cream for salad dressings or dessert dishes, due to its very subtle flavour. It’s also a good type to use when making vegan scrambled eggs.

Firm tofu is easier to handle; while silken tofu will start to crumble when held, firm tofu will for the most part hold its shape. The texture of firm tofu is closer to feta cheese.

Extra firm tofu is quite common in supermarkets, an example of this would be Tofoo’s range. Firm tofu is great for stir-frying, simmering in stews and baking as it retains its shape well and does crumble as easily. 

How do I cook tofu?

Tofu should be cut into the desired shapes and can be deep-fried, baked and pan-fried with sauces, marinades or curries. Check out our vegan bao bun recipe to see how to make sweet and sticky tofu into the ultimate comfort food, or have a classic fakeaway with our vegan pad thai recipe!

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Toni Olukiran
by Toni Olukiran

Toni is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants, and when she’s not writing posts about everything from Jamaican cooking to vegan champagne, she’s making a Spotify playlist (she was at 200, at her last count) or playing tennis in the park.

Read more from Toni


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