Recipes/ Roundup

11 Simple Tofu Recipes and Marinade Ideas

06/01/2022

Learn to cook easy and quick tofu recipes from Japan, Korea and Indonesia. Or, if you’re feeling creative, take on a tofu marinade and add it to any number of dishes. Whether you have silken tofu or golden fried puffs, we have you covered!

Chopped pieces of firm tofu on a plate.

Why We Love Cooking with Tofu

Silken, firm and fried tofu varieties are filling and satisfying, but with the added benefit of being vegan and vegetarian friendly!

Unlike meat, you don’t need to worry about ensuring it’s fully cooked, as properly stored tofu can even be eaten raw. 

Use tofu as a substitute for chicken, beef, seafood or pork in a huge range of recipes! See below for more delicious ideas.

Hot tofu in a small bowl.
Hot simmered Silken Tofu in Yudofu.

What is Tofu? 

Tofu, also known as bean curd, is made from soy milk that is curdled, condensed and pressed into blocks. The process is quite similar to cheesemaking. 

Commercially made tofu uses coagulants like calcium sulphate or salts like magnesium chloride or calcium chloride to curdle the soy milk, while homemade tofu recipes often use lemon juice or rice vinegar. Different coagulants will lead to different firmness and texture in the final pressed tofu. 

While there are lots of different styles of tofu, there are three main types of tofu readily available in our area that are great for cooking: soft or silken tofu, firm tofu and fried tofu. You might also find other varieties at your local supermarket or grocery, like medium firm tofu etc. 

3 Common Types of Tofu

  • Silken Tofu (Soft Tofu) – Very smooth and quite fragile, this is one of the softest tofu types. Take care when slicing into blocks to make sure it holds its shape. It works great in dishes like miso soup and yudofu (hot simmered tofu). We also love it with 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 stir fries and dishes like teriyaki tofu, and hot pots like Korean army stew (so you can easily lift it out of the soup with chopsticks). 
  • Fried 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 love it in Indonesian gado gado salad smothered in spicy peanut satay sauce.
Fresh plate of Indonesian gado gado salad topped with peanut satay sauce.
Fried Tofu used in Gado Gado salad.

Further Tofu Tips

FAQs

Does tofu need to be refrigerated? How should I store it?

Fresh tofu (homemade or purchased from the fridge section of a supermarket) should always be refrigerated. If you’ve bought shelf stable tofu, it can usually be stored in the pantry until opened, then stored in the fridge for 3-5 days max.

Where does it come from?

Tofu is said to have originated in China and has spread over thousands of year to become popular across many Asian cuisines, such as Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese.

Can I freeze tofu?

Yes, to freeze tofu just drain it first and then slice into portions or cubes. Freeze in an airtight container and it will maintain its flavour and texture for around 2-3 months.

What does it taste like?

Tofu doesn’t have much flavour on its own, so it can be served with savoury and sweet dishes alike. Many recipes often marinate or season the tofu first to help to give it extra flavour.

What does it go well with?

Just about anything! You can cook it in a dish, serve it alongside a main meal as an entree (yudofu, agedashi tofu), add it on top of sushi bowls (teriyaki tofu), or scramble in mentsuyu sauce and serve in a wrap with thinly sliced veggies.

What else can I do with tofu?

Fermented tofu (tempeh or chao)
Scrambled tofu or tofu mince – why not try in a spaghetti bolognese?
Pop tofu in a salad in small bites like you would cheese.
Fry in a saucepan or throw them in your air fryer.
Make Tofu Sesame Toasts!

A bowl of tofu stir fried in teriyaki sauce.
Firm Tofu marinated in Teriyaki Sauce.

10 Simple Tofu Recipes

Hiyayakko in a white dish in a shallow pool of soy sauce.
Hiyayakko – Japanese Cold Tofu Recipe
Get ready for the easiest 5 minute meal – Hiyayakko. This Japanese cold tofu recipe is ideal for a quick and healthy lunch you can have at work or home, with loads of topping ideas to get you started.
Hiyayakko – Japanese Cold Tofu Recipe
Bowl of Japanese miso soup with pumpkin and tofu.
Quick Japanese Miso Soup Recipe
Move aside udon, this homemade Japanese Miso Soup recipe is ready to warm you up. Filled with dashi, tofu, onion and pumpkin, it's bursting with goodness and ready in 10 minutes.
Quick Japanese Miso Soup Recipe
Close up shot of sauce drizzling over the top of hot simmered tofu.
Yudofu – Japanese Boiled Tofu Recipe
Yudofu is the easiest Japanese hot pot ever. In just 5 minutes, you’ll enjoy delicious boiled tofu that’s healthy, light and full of satisfying flavour. Perfect as a tasty side dish or snack.
Yudofu – Japanese Boiled Tofu Recipe
Close up shot of sushi bowl with teriyaki tofu and vegetables.
Quick Teriyaki Tofu Sushi Bowls
Sushi bowls are the ultimate meal after a busy day – healthy, flavour-packed and FAST to bring together. Try them with teriyaki tofu, teriyaki chicken, or simple tuna and mayo, and use pre-cooked sushi rice for even faster prep!
Quick Teriyaki Tofu Sushi Bowls
Agedashi tofu in tsuyu sauce in a white bowl.
Easy 20 Minute Agedashi Tofu (Air Fryer Recipe)
For a delicious appetiser that’s crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, look no further than Agedashi Tofu! This simple air fryer version of the traditional Japanese deep fried tofu recipe is paired with a tsuyu sauce of dashi, mirin and soy sauce.
Easy 20 Minute Agedashi Tofu (Air Fryer Recipe)
Pieces of tofu cooked Korean style, known as dubu jorim.
Dubu Jorim – Korean Braised Tofu
Everyone will love this sweet, savoury and spicy Korean braised tofu! Dubu jorim is vegan and vegetarian friendly AND ready in less than 20 minutes! Serve it as a side dish or all on its own for a quick and healthy meal. 
Dubu Jorim – Korean Braised Tofu
A close up image of Japanese mapo tofu udon noodles.
Japanese Mapo Tofu Udon Noodles
These spicy Japanese Mapo Tofu Udon Noodles are totally delicious, packed with flavour and ready in 10 minutes! A lighter take on the traditional Chinese version, it's a super satisfying dish perfect for lunch or dinner.
Japanese Mapo Tofu Udon Noodles
Pork, udon and vegetables all cut up and ready to eat in a shabu shabu hot pot.
Quick Shabu Shabu Recipe
You're just a few tasty ingredients away from this simmering Japanese hot pot. Think thinly sliced pork, udon, tofu, vegetables and delicious homemade dipping sauces. Ready to get cooking? Let's learn how to make this 10 minute Shabu Shabu recipe at home.
Quick Shabu Shabu Recipe
Japanese tofu patties in a white bowl with dipping sauce.
Japanese Fried Tofu Patties – Ganmodoki
Crispy fried, golden brown and delicious, Ganmodoki are a great make-ahead entree or satisfying main. These Japanese tofu patties are naturally vegan and vegetarian friendly, serve them with your favourite dipping sauces for a quick, easy and nutritious meal!
Japanese Fried Tofu Patties – Ganmodoki
Close up shot of Korean army stew showing the various ingredients cooking in the broth.
Easy Korean Army Stew – Budae Jjigae
Spice things up with this quick and easy Korean Army Stew, on the table in less than 30 minutes! Filled with noodles, kimchi and veggies, this mouthwatering budae jjigae recipe is perfect for sharing and cooking with friends!
Easy Korean Army Stew – Budae Jjigae
Plate of Indonesian gado gado salad.
Indonesian Gado Gado Salad with Peanut Sauce
Take your taste buds on a Southeast Asian adventure with this crispy, crunchy, and oh-so-satisfying, Indonesian Gado Gado Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce. It’s a deliciously cooling salad for a hot summer’s day, packed with healthy nutrients, protein and incredible spicy peanut flavour.
Indonesian Gado Gado Salad with Peanut Sauce

Learn more about these Asian ingredients next:

11 Simple Tofu Recipes and Marinade Ideas

Browse all our most popular Japanese recipes

Japanese mochi, matcha green tea ice-cream. okonomiyaki, gyoza and chicken katsu dishes, with the words "Click here for Japanese recipes" overlayed.

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Lucretia Borgia
    17/08/2022 at 8:39 am

    Just love Tofu and make my own now and again!
    I’ve used Calcium Sulfate (available from home-brew suppliers) as the coagulant but lemon juice is easier and works just as well.
    My inexpensive wooden tofu press was boght online from China.
    Making Paneer exactly the same way is also fun, curdling milk instead of soybeans!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      19/08/2022 at 3:33 pm

      Oh that’s cool to know that the lemon juice is easier than the calcium sulfate! We haven’t given homemade tofu a go yet, only soy milk. What brand was the tofu press if you don’t mind sharing? Also, great work with the paneer too! 😀

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