|Fresh Firm Tofu
||Dense blocks of tofu, sold in waterbaths. Firm to touch and easy to handle. There is a little bounce to the texture. Robust enough to move in a pan without breaking. Very versatile.
||For most stir-fry dishes, this tofu does not need pressing since the airy pores allow it to take on new flavours. It is robust enough to move in the pan without breaking.
For crispy pan-fry dishes, coat with a little corn or plain flour and fry until golden before adding new flavours.
For minced dishes, really squeeze out all the water first and wrap in paper towels to absorb the excess liquid.
|Pan- fried Crispy dishes
Mince for burger patties and
|Fresh Soft/Medium Tofu
||Similar to firm tofu but with a more bouncy, softer, and more porous texture. Absorbs a lot of flavour.
||If you wish to use this type of tofu for a pan fry or stir-fry, then pressing is essential, or the tofu will break easily.
There is no need to press the tofu for curries, scrambles and soups, just draining it is sufficient, as you want to retain its original texture.
|Ambient or Fresh Silken Tofu
||Wobbly and delicate with plain or egg flavours. Usually comes in a cardboard carton box , or if fresh, then it will be packaged in a water bath.
||Drain, no need to press. Fragile to cut so care needed for handling.
||Hot Pots and stews
Loading with sauces and pickles.
|Fresh, pressed Tofu
||Very firm, compact tofu that is rubbery in texture, similar to halloumi. Difficult to penetrate with new flavours so often come pre- infused with other flavours already.
||No need to press, simply slice into desired size. Ready for straight-to-wok stir-fries.
As the texture is hard to penetrate with new flavours, best cooked with bold flavours to contrast around the tofu pieces.
|Popular in the West for stir-fries or pan-fries due to their pre-pressed convenience and super firm texture. Also great for chunky burger filling and baked tofu dishes.
In Chinese cuisine, smoke, pressed tofu is popular for stir fried dishes too.
||Fragile twists of custard-coloured dried tofu has a more intense flavour than fresh tofu. They are papery thin and brittle and come in sheets, sticks or knot shapes.
Sometimes called beancurd sheets or tofu “skin” or pastry. Found in large packets in the fried herbal soup section of oriental food stores.
|Requires soaking for at least 1 hour before cooking. Submerge completely in water.
If they need cutting down to size, use kitchen scissors rather than a knife for better control.
|Hot pots, stews, soups
||Popular in Chinese and Japanese cuisine, there are 2 types; chunky cubes (found in the refrigerators) also known as Atsuage, or there is Aburage which are smaller thin pockets of deep fried tofu, for stuffing. These are usually found in the fridge or freezer section of oriental grocers.
||Not essential, but a quick soak in hot water before cooking makes this type of tofu more porous and ready to take on new flavours.
For stuffing with other ingredients
Slicing and adding to soups.
||Housed in charming ceramic or glass jars, small cubes of feta-like tofu are suspended in a brine. Strong cheese, spice or wine flavours.
||Simply remove the cubes from the jar, leaving the brine behind. Break the cubes down with a spoon to form a smooth paste before adding to cooking.