Tofu, also called bean curd, is made by curdling soy milk in a process similar to cheese-making.
Although it is almost tasteless by itself, tofu acts like a sponge, easily absorbing other flavors.
Look for tofu in the produce section of your grocery store, although some stores sell it in the deli or dairy department. Check the "sell by" date on the package to ensure freshness. Store tofu in the refrigerator (unless it is an aseptic package). Once opened, refrigerate tofu covered with water for up to one week, changing the water daily. Tofu can also be frozen for up to five months.
Types of Tofu
- Extra-firm or firm tofu: This type is dense and keeps its shape. Use it for slicing or cubing in stir-fries, pasta dishes, or on the grill.
- Soft tofu: Ideal for whipping, blending, or crumbling, use it for dressings, dips, and desserts.
- Silken tofu: Sold in shelf-stable packages, it has a much finer consistency than other forms of tofu. Silken tofu is available in extra-firm, firm, soft, and reduced-fat varieties.
- Flavored tofus: Available flavors include barbecue, smoked hickory, spinach-jalapeño, and tomato-basil.