How to Cook with Silken Tofu
Multiple (different) tofu categories exist, and can be confusing to the tofu novice. Many people do not like tofu based on their limited experience with it, but it is essentially cheese made from soy milk, and is as versatile as its dairy based cousin, if not in precisely the same ways. It's protein content is fat-free, cholesterol-free, and lactose-free. Its textural potential makes tofu something interesting, and inexpensive to explore for any cook.
Most American supermarkets carry block and silken tofu to some extent. Most savory tofu applications take firm or extra firm block tofu. Silken tofu is perhaps the most useful form of tofu for people who want a healthy lifestyle but don't like tofu. This type of tofu can be used in ways that aren't detectable, as replacements for less healthy food components, it can be the ninja of the tofu world.
Silken tofu comes in soft, firm, and extra firm textures. It has been left with all its moisture intact, and is un-curdled. Instead, the concentration of soy milk has been varied to produce its texture. It should not be pressed or frozen, and shouldn't be fried...the water content will cause it to spatter.
Soft silken tofu has a heavy, delicate, poached-egg like texture, that will fall between the fingers under its own weight. It is a great way to add protein to smoothies, as its texture will smooth out the smoothie, without adding extra fat or dairy. It can be used as an egg replacement in many sauces, especially salad dressings. It can be used as a mayonnaise substitute as well, or used to replace some of the mayonnaise in a recipe.
Firm silken tofu is used in recipes where it needs to hold its shape. It is often cut into or suspended in sauces.
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