When selecting the right kind of tofu for your meal, you basically have three main types of tofu to choose from: silken (soft), firm, and extra firm. It’s important that you choose the rind kind, because using the wrong kind of tofu can lead to disastrous results – I know from many failed experiments in the kitchen.
Silken is the softest kind of tofu. It has the texture of thick pudding. If you try to handle it, it will start to fall apart, and cooking it will not make it firmer.
Here’s what you don’t want to do with silken tofu:
- You don’t want to grill it, bake it, roast it, or fry it (in most cases). If you put silken tofu on a grill, it’s just going to fall apart and make a mess. If you put it in the oven I promise you won’t be happy with the results. You can fry it, but again, you probably won’t get the results you wanted.
- You don’t want to try to pass it off as a meat substitute. It’s just not going to work. It is far too soft and no matter how long you cook it, it won’t get firm.
Here’s what you should do with silken tofu:
- Use it to make desserts. Silken tofu makes an excellent milk substitute for creating dairy-free desserts.
- Use it to thicken soups. You can puree silken tofu and use it to add thickness and creaminess to a soup.
- Use it as an egg substitute. This is the one instance in which you would want to fry silken tofu, because it’s good for making vegan scrambled eggs.
Firm tofu is the most common type of tofu you’ll find at just about any grocery store. It usually comes in a cardboard package. Firm tofu should really be called “medium” because that’s what it is. It’s not really soft or hard it’s spongy. Sometimes you will actually see “medium firm” which is in between silken and firm. Firm tofu soaks up marinades well and you can do just about anything you want with it, although, I still would not recommend grilling it. Firm tofu is the best type of tofu for deep-frying because it gets crispy on the outside and stays soft on the inside. It’s also good for pan-frying.
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Extra Firm/Super Firm Tofu
Extra firm tofu is obviously the firmest. Sometimes you’ll find both extra firm and super firm at the grocery store, super firm being the firmer of the two. This tofu is hard and tough. It has the texture of meat, so naturally it makes the best meat substitute. If you want to do some grilling or searing, Extra firm is the kind of tofu you want to use.
Now that you know how to choose the right kind of tofu, go make something delicious and share it with us!