These incredibly easy tofu recipes are delicious, healthy and FAST. Learn our best tips and recipe ideas for how to cook tofu in stir fries, hot pots, rice bowls and more!
In This Post You’ll Learn
Why We Love This
These easy tofu recipes are deliciously filling and satisfying, whether you’re a seasoned tofu lover or just starting out. Most are vegan and vegetarian friendly too.
Learn how to choose the best style of tofu to suit your dish. Silken tofu, fried tofu or firm tofu all have different textures and flavours that suit different styles of cooking.
Unlike meat, there’s no need to worry about ensuring it’s fully cooked, tofu can be enjoyed raw as long as it’s been properly stored. Use it as a healthy protein alternative to chicken, beef, seafood or pork in a huge range of recipes.
What is Tofu?
Tofu or bean curd (豆腐, sometimes written as dòu fu or dofu) is made from fresh soy milk that is curdled with a coagulant, then condensed and pressed into blocks. The process is actually quite similar to making cheese!
Different coagulants will lead to different firmness and texture in the finished tofu. Store bought tofu often uses calcium sulphate, magnesium chloride or calcium chloride as the coagulant. At home, you can use lemon juice or rice vinegar to make your own homemade tofu.
Tofu is said to have originated in China and has spread over thousands of years to become popular across many Asian cuisines, such as Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese to name a few.
3 Common Types of Tofu
While there are lots of different varieties of tofu out there depending on the region or country of origin, they generally fall into three main categories: soft or silken tofu, firm tofu and fried tofu.
These tend to be readily available where we live and all are great for cooking. You might find other varieties at your local supermarket or grocery depending on where you live, such as medium firm, extra firm tofu etc.
- Silken Tofu / Soft Tofu – Very smooth and quite fragile, this is one of the types of tofu. You’ll need to take extra care when slicing into blocks to ensure it holds its shape. Soft tofu works great in dishes like miso soup and yudofu (hot simmered tofu). We also love it with Vietnamese sweet ginger syrup as a light and refreshing dessert!
- Firm Tofu – This holds its shape much more easily than silken tofu, making it perfect for pan-fried tofu recipes like dubu jorim (braised spicy tofu), teriyaki tofu, or hot pots like Korean army stew. It works so well in these recipes because it takes on all the delicious flavours AND you can easily grasp it with chopsticks.
- Fried Tofu – This style of tofu comes pre-fried and, depending on the brand, can be lighter, puffier and spongier in texture than the other types of tofu. It soaks up flavour really well, so we especially love it in Indonesian gado gado salad with peanut satay sauce.
More Tofu Resources
Watch the below videos to learn a little more about the process of making, pressing and slicing tofu:
How to Press Tofu
How to Make Tofu
How to Slice Tofu
- Extra Crispy Tofu – When using firm tofu, it’s a good idea to press out extra liquid using a heavy weight. Drain on paper towels to absorb the excess moisture.
- Storage – Fresh tofu (homemade or store bought) should always be stored in the fridge in its original packaging or in an airtight container. It should be covered with fresh cold water to seal the edges and help it last for another 2-3 days. Change the water daily to keep it at its freshest. Shelf stable tofu can usually be stored in the pantry until opened, then stored in the fridge for 3-5 days max.
Most common varieties of fresh tofu don’t have much flavour on its own, so they can easily be served with savoury and sweet dishes alike. Many recipes often marinate or season the tofu first to give it extra flavour.
There are a few reasons why your tofu might taste bad. For example, it might be past its use by date, so always check the packaging when buying tofu. Tofu can easily go off if it’s kept for too long, or it was stored at too high a temperature (ie not stored in the fridge). Covering the tofu with fresh water (and changing it daily) can help to keep it for longer and maintain the proper flavour.
Yep, you can. Drain it first, then slice into portions or cubes. Freeze in an airtight container and it will maintain its flavour and texture for around 2-3 months.
Just about anything! You can cook it in one of our simple tofu recipes below, serve it alongside a main meal as an entree, add it on top of sushi bowls or curries, or mash it and fry it up into a tofu scramble with lettuce wraps.
The possibilities are almost endless! Why not:
– Turn it into fermented tofu (tempeh or chao).
– Crumb tofu steaks to make tofu katsu, then serve with rice and katsu curry.
– Make scrambled tofu or tofu mince – then use it in spaghetti bolognese or tofu tacos.
– Pop it in a salad in small bites like you would cheese.
– Fry it in a saucepan or make air fryer tofu.
– Make tofu sesame toasts!
– Make Crispy Tofu – Toss drained tofu pieces in a mix of cornstarch, salt, black pepper and garlic powder, then deep fry.
Easy Tofu Recipes for Lunch or Dinner
Best Dipping Sauces for Crispy Fried Tofu
- Spicy – We love it with gochujang mayo, Vietnamese nuoc dipping sauce or Thai nam jim jaew.
- Creamy – Try it with homemade kewpie mayo, goma dare or creamy sesame dressing.
- Savoury – Add huge flavour with a batch of peanut hoisin sauce.
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