There was a time not so long ago when I barely knew what tofu was but I knew I didn’t want it on my plate. In my Italian neighborhood, there was no great danger of that happening except when I ordered Chinese food. They were always trying to sneak it into my Buddha’s Delight, trying to trick me by calling it bean curd. But there was no mistaking that spongy taste and I’d pick it out of my pretty veggies. When I became vegan, tofu entered my life again. It took me awhile but not only did I learn how to cook with tofu, I mastered it. Now I use tofu all the time to recreate my favorite dishes and write articles sharing all I’ve learned such as 6 Tips That Will Make You Love Tofu, 10 Easy Tips to Troubleshoot Tofu Recipes, and The Secret to Making the Crispiest Tofu for All Your Dishes.
My tofu expertise, however, was limited to the regular blocks of tofu – you know, the ones that sit in a tub of water. I rarely used silken tofu, probably because I always wanted the firmest tofu for my recipes. But I knew if I really wanted to be a true tofu master, I needed to familiarize myself with all types of tofu, including silken tofu. If you’re not familiar with this tofu or you’re not sure what to do with it, here are all the answers plus lots of delicious recipes that will make you want to explore the silkier side of tofu.
What is Silken Tofu?
Silken tofu is undrained and unpressed tofu. It has the highest water content of all types of tofu and is made by coagulating soy milk without curdling it. It is often produced in the container it comes in. It’s available in several consistencies depending on how much soy protein it contains. The consistencies include soft, medium firm, firm and extra-firm.
How is Silken Tofu Different from Regular Tofu?
Silken tofu is produced without separating and pressing the soy curds as happens in the production of regular tofu. This is why all silken tofu, even that labeled extra-firm, is softer than regular tofu. When you buy silken tofu, you’ll notice it is not sitting in a tub of water in the refrigerated section of the store. This tofu is usually sold in shelf-stable aseptic containers. Of course, look for organic, non-GMO brands when buying any tofu. When you cut into the package, the tofu will be soft, smooth and feel a bit fragile. Unlike regular tofu, you don’t press this one. Just drain what little water there is in the package and pat it dry.
Silken tofu feels like solidified pudding or custard. It’s light and creamy. This tofu cannot be used interchangeably with regular tofu in most recipes. Because it’s is non-porous, it does not soak up marinades like regular tofu does. Its fragile nature also makes it a poor choice for stir-fries or recipes where you want the tofu to keep its shape. Like regular tofu, you can freeze silken tofu to make it a little chewier but it will still be delicate.
What Do I Do With Silken Tofu?
Silken tofu is pretty versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes. It can be served hot or cold, cooked or raw. Its creamy consistency makes silken tofu a great substitute for eggs in recipes. For each egg, you want to replace, use ¼ cup silken tofu. It can be blended into dips, puddings, dressings, sauces, and smoothies as a replacement for dairy. It can also be blended into a batter. The firmer types of silken tofu can be used to make creamy tofu scrambles. Let’s take a look at some amazing recipes that use silken tofu!
1. Dips and Spreads
The creaminess of silken tofu makes it perfect for creating smooth, creamy dips and spreads. Try making your own Silken Tofu Cream Cheese: blend 1 cup firm silken tofu, 2 Tbs. olive oil, 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar and 1 Tbs. agave nectar until smooth. Add salt to taste. Transfer to a bowl and chill in the fridge until it sets. Another recipe to try is this Cilantro-Wasabi Aioli or this Low-Fat Tofu Ranch Dip. It’s perfect with raw veggies or your favorite Buffalo Cauliflower Bites.
Blend silken tofu with a bit of non-dairy milk and your favorite herbs and spices to make a delicious vegan omelet. Want to learn how? Check out Who Needs Eggs? Here’s How to Make Vegan Omelets, Frittatas, Quiches and Crepes for all the tips and tricks. Then try this Low-Fat Vegan Silken Tofu Omelet and this Vegan Soufflé Omelet. You can also use the firm or extra-firm silken tofu to make a creamy tofu scramble. Blend silken tofu into a batter to make French toast or Matzoh Brei. This tofu will also help you make this amazing Perfect Fried Egg – Sunny Side Up.
My latest use of silken tofu has been in veggie burgers. I mashed up a package of it and added in black beans, onions, kale and a bunch of spices to make these indulgent Double Black Bean Tofu Cheeseburgers. Another delicious burger to try is this Tex-Mex Burger that’s also made with kidney beans and topped with salsa and guacamole. Yum!
When you want desserts that are thick, smooth and creamy, silken tofu is the way to go. Get the creamy, tangy feel of cheesecake but without dairy as in this Banana Cheesecake with Mango Sauce and Chocolate Banana Coconut Cheesecake. Custards, puddings and mousses are made silky smooth with this tofu. Try these Healthy Mocha Pots de Crème and this Easiest Ever Silken Tofu Mousse. Other desserts made with this tofu include these Frozen Pretzel Peanut Butter Bites and these Key Lime or Lemon Lime Bars.
I remember when the thought of cooking with any tofu was intimidating. The only way to master anything is to get in there and keep trying. If this tofu is new to you, try these recipes and you’ll soon find you’ve mastered the art yourself.
Lead image source: Taku/Flickr
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