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Tofu, Toufu, Doufu- Meat Without Feet
And Fermented Soy Foods

Tofu      Nutritional Info      Recipes      Yuba
Fermented Soy Foods      Recipes      Natto      Tempeh
Miso      Recipes      Miso Types


Tofu is soy milk precipitated by gypsum or bittern (sea brine concentrate), in a process very similar to making cottage cheese from dairy milk. In Japan, Hiyayakko or plain cold tofu, and Yu-doufu or plain tofu simmered in hot water are everyday dishes.

Nutrients in 4 ounces of:

Firm Tofu

Soft Tofu

Silken Tofu





Protein (gm)




Carbohydrate (gm)




Fat (gm)




Saturated Fat (gm)








Sodium (mg)




Fiber (gm)




Calcium (mg)




Iron (mg)




Source: Composition of Foods: Legumes and Legume Products. United States Department of Agriculture, Human Nutrition Information Service, Agriculture Handbook 8-16. Revised December 1986, and from product analysis.

Regular tofu is prepared in many ways: Aburaage (fried slices of tofu), Atusage (fried tofu), Yuba (soy milk skin, the skin that collects at the top of a vat of soy milk) and Agedashi-doufe (fried tofu served in a warm soy-based broth, topped with sliced leek) are widely available. Aburaage, Atuage and Yuba are usually used for simmered food or pot dishes. Aburaage can also be eaten by just grilling it, dipped in a little soy sauce and eating. Agedashi-doufe is a Japanese favorite, and is eaten with just a little soy sauce added.

Tofu and Yuba Recipes

Forms of deep-fried tofu need to be simmered in boiling water to remove excess oil. In Japan, the thin deep- fried tofu needs to be simmered twice, first for a couple of minutes and then, change of water, for about 10 minutes, discarding the water each time and then pressing dry. Thick deep-fried tofu needs to be simmered only once, after which it is pricked all over with a toothpick or sharp fork so that it better absorbs the flavor of broth it is to be cooked in. Deep-fried tofu adds a rich, 'meaty' taste to vegetarian soups and simmered dishes You will find deep-fried tofu labeled as follows: doufu pok, yu-dofu, cha- (Chinese) and abura-age, usu-age (thin) or atsu-age (thick) from Japan.

Tofu powder

Ground from dried tofu, this handy product can be made into tofu, but it can also be used as a protein-loaded addition for snacks and baked products.

Freeze-dried tofu

This relatively new product is concentrated protein, with over seven times the protein and energy value of a similar weight of regular tofu. This "instant food" is light in weight, handy for vegetarian campers and backpackers. Once rehydrated by a brief soaking in hot or cold water (there is some controversy on this issue) and well squeezed to express the soaking water, dried-frozen tofu is an edible, nutritious 'sponge', with a tremendous capacity to absorb and enhance flavors is remarkable.

Some processors use ammonia gas at the final stages of processing freeze dried tofu to improve softness and absorbency. Don't be put off by strong ammonia fumes when you open the packet - they will disappear when you reconstitute the tofu in hot water. The stronger the ammonia fumes, the fresher the batch of freeze-dried tofu. Tofu.

Commercial tofu products used in Japanese cuisine include:

  • Kouya-doufu (Freeze-dried bean curd)
  • Cheese-doufu (Tofu mixed with cheese)
  • Kaisou-doufu (Tofu mixed with seaweed)
  • Kanimiso-doufu (Tofu mixed with crab tomalley/roe)
  • Maccha-doufu (Tofu mixed with powdered green tea)
  • Goma-doufu (Tofu mixed with sesame)
  • Tamago-doufu (Tofu mixed with egg)
  • Tofu-soumen (Noodle made of tofu)
  • Tofu-purin (Pudding made of tofu)

Tofu noodles made from ground or shredded tofu, have many names: soybean curd noodles, tofu shreds, gan si, beancurd noodles, soy noodles, soy vermicelli. These chewy noodles look like a pack of rubber bands, but they're made from compressed tofu and packed with protein and nutrients. They're usually served in salads, soups, or stir-fries, and if you can't find them, you can substitute small cubes of pressed, drained firm tofu. Look for them in the refrigerated or frozen foods section of Asian markets. Dried tofu noodles are also available. Before using, soak them in water mixed with baking soda until they soften, then rinse. They look like a lot like bean curd skin (yuba) noodles, which are darker and chewier.


Yuba (bean curd skin) is usually sold dried in crinkled sheets, and has to be rehydrated before use. Namé yuba is sold fresh, may be frozen. Chinese yuba noodles are chewy and very nutritious. When rehydrated it can be used as a wrapper or deep-fried to use as a crispy skin on a tofu or wheat meat "roast".

Dried beancurd sheets (fu chook in China) can be deep-fried and crumbled to serve with vegetarian dishes. They can also be used to make deep-fried rolls with filling. Wet (fresh) beancurd sheets (tau pau in China) can be purchased at the wet market and kept in the fridge. "Never keep wet beancurd sheets in the freezer or they would be riddled with holes and become tough after cooking," said Madam Poh Chai Eng, a part-time food consultant with Deli Food Cooking Institute in Ipoh.

Fermented Soy Foods

Fermented Soy Food Recipes

In Chinese cuisine, tofu may also be salted or pickled. Salted dried tofu is firm and dark brown color (doufu-kan) and fermented, preserved or pickled tofu (doufu-ru, furu, rufu, fuyu, funan) is aged tofu with a soft, creamy texture and an aroma to a very ripe cheese.

In China, the blocks of tofu are placed in a brine of rice wine, salt, chilies and spices to age, until they develop an aged, cheese-like quality. Traditionally these are a classic condiment to accompany congee and are used as flavouring in different dishes such as steamed pork or chicken with pickled cabbage, or stir-fried water spinach with garlic. One version that is coated with ground red rice is a principle ingredient in the marinade used to give Chinese barbecued duck its unique depth of flavour.

Varieties of pickled tofu (doufu-ru): white doufu-ru, red doufu-ru, tsao-doufu and chiang-doufu. The white doufu-ru (pai doufu-ru) is the most fermented tofu and there are numerous versions of it, seasoned with pepper, sesame oil, and spices such as anise and cinnamon or ingredients such as lemon juice or rind, minced ham and dried shrimp. Red doufu-ru (hung doufu-ru, nanru, nanyu) is identical in preparation to the white, except that fermented red rice is added to the pickling liquor, imparting a rich red color, thick consistency and different flavor and aroma. Tsao-dofu, famous for its strong odor, includes: chu-tsao, which is in rice wine and wine lees, and the green tofu so popular in Taiwan, ch'ou doufu ('foul-smelling tofu'), made from pressed tofu squares aged with rice wine lees to which has been added crushed leaves and a green. Despite its overpowering aroma, slimy texture, unappetizing color and the unfortunate odor it leaves on the breath, those brave enough to partake of it consider it a delicacy. Chiang-doufu, or firm cubes of tofu fermented for several days in soy sauce (chiang-yu) or Chinese style miso (chiang) is red-brown in colour and salty or salty-sweet depending on whether rice wine or mould was introduced before fermentation. Chiang-doufu sauce (chiang-doufu chih), used to flavor Chinese lamb or beef dishes, is the result of mashing pickled tofu to a smooth paste with its pickling liquor.

Tahuri, Natto:

Philippine cuisine has its own fermented tofu called tahuri , a salty pickled tofu made by packing cakes of firm molded tofu with salt. No alcohol or brine is used in the process. Matured for several months, it becomes a brownish-yellow and acquires a uniquely complex salty flavor. Indonesia's fermented tofu is 'tahu' called ragi.natto, nato, nattou, fermented soycheese. Made with small, whole fermented soybeans, natto is pungent, sticky, and highly nutritious. Fermentation breaks down the beans' complex proteins, making them more easily digested than whole soybeans. Natto is reported to have higher levels of isoflavone than either soy milk or tofu. The Japanese like to serve it on rice or put it in sushi or miso soups. It's available in Japanese markets or health food stores either frozen, freeze-dried, or fresh in straw bundles.


Tempeh or tempe, pronounced TEM-pay OR tem-PAY, is an Indonesian meat substitute is made from soybeans and other grains that have been injected with a mold and allowed to ferment. Rich in protein and fiber with a chewy texture, it is a chunky, tender soybean cake with a smoky or nutty flavor. Before using it, steam or simmer it for about twenty minutes. Then use it just like tofu or meat--either by marinating it and grilling or by crumbling it into pieces and frying them, adding to soups, casseroles, or chili. Look for tempeh among the frozen foods in supermarkets or in health food stores. It will keep in the freezer for a few months, or in the refrigerator for about a week.


Miso soup for breakfast every day is a Japanese tradition, with some tofu cubes and green vegetable or seaweed floating friendly in the bowl. Why not give it a try? Miso is always stirred in at the last minute because boiling it destroys beneficial bacteria and causes it to curdle.

Miso Recipes

What exactly is in that muddy looking paste stuff besides salt? Different Japanese locales make hundreds of different kinds of miso; in Kyushu they eat a wheat miso, in Nagoya they eat a "beans only" miso. In Tokushima and most of the rest of the world, most people eat rice miso. The basic ingredients for this are soybean (daizu), malted rice (kouji), salt and water.

Even in miso's home country of Japan, the soybeans used in miso are imported either from China or the U.S. Most miso is produced in large factories, but it can also be made in small, artisan-style batches at home. Miso production basically involves three stages; the preparation of the soybeans, the malting of the rice and finally the fermentation of the combined ingredients. Heat is essential for each of these stages.

Beans are placed into a vat with water and left to stand for 24 hours. Once this is done the excess water is removed from the beans by steaming them for a couple of hours. While the beans are soaking, the grain (usually rice) is placed into a tank at a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. Bacteria is added and the rice is left to malt for a day, then aerated to remove any unpleasant odors produced by the bacteria.

Once the soybean and grain are prepared they are combined with salt and water to create a miso precursor. The resulting mix is deposited into huge plastic or wooden containers and then placed into heated rooms (again, approximately 40 degrees Celsius) and left to ferment.

In a controlled indoor environment the fermentation process takes about one month to complete, giving off heat, gas and a liquid which was the original source of tamari soy sauce. Naturally (outdoor) fermented miso (daikan) takes much longer to ferment and requires closer supervision. It is now a luxury product, more expensive than miso fermented indoors, generally acknowledged as being superior in quality; having a softer texture and a deeper, richer flavor. The taste varies according to the percentage of salt in the miso; this may be from as little as 2% up to 14%, ranging from sweet to spicy in taste and fine to coarse in texture.

Types of Miso

Akamiso - medium strength, made with barley or rice, also called sendai miso, inaka miso, red miso, aka miso

Genmai miso - brown rice based

Gozen - a mildly spicy taste, muddy brown (usual) color
Hatche miso or Mame miso - aged up to 3 years, very pungent, dark brown

Kogane - a slightly salty taste, a golden color

Kokyujoaka - much coarser in texture with the rice visible, a reddish brown color
Mugi miso - made from barley, sweeter with reddish brown color

Shinsumiso - salty but mild, definite yellow color

Shiromiso - sweet and mild taste, less salty, a whitish or light yellow color