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Miso Hungry Podcast

Episode 13: Tofu Nerds Unite! (Plus a giveaway!)


Prepare yourself… today, we’re completely and totally geeking out. (Especially Rachael.)

Why? Because today’s topic is something we get especially excited about – TOFU!

You might think tofu is a silly thing to get excited about, but we’d bet that’s because you’ve never tasted fresh, homemade tofu. (Trust us. It’s amazing.)

homemade tofu

So what is tofu?

Tofu is bean curd made from dried soybeans, water, and coagulant. (It tastes better than it sounds, promise.)

Tofu is typically identified as silken, medium, medium firm, firm, extra firm, and super firm. In general, Japanese-style tofu is softer than other kinds. The firmer the tofu, the harder the texture, and the more protein it contains by weight.

In Japan, most people don’t usually make their own tofu, however in some markets in Japan you can buy bottles of soy milk with packages of coagulant for making your own tofu, though it is becoming harder to find, especially in the bigger cities.


So how is it made?

Tofu is made by coagulating hot soy milk with mineral salt or acid coagulants. By varying the richness of the soy milk, coagulation method, and pressure used to weight the curds, a tofu maker regulates how much whey (liquid) is left in the tofu. The amount of residual whey determines tofu texture and density.

That all might sound really difficult, but it’s not as bad as it sounds.

making our own tofu

Rachael even has a post on her blog that teaches you how to make your own tofu!

But you can always try making your own soy milk instead… so delicious.

There are a lot of delicious things you can do with tofu…

Abura-age (fried tofu slices): tofu is sliced and pressed, then carefully deep-fried, first at low then at high temperature, to force it to swell. (simmered in sugar, sake, soy sauce, and dashi then split into pockets and filled with sushi rice to make inarizushi)

inari zushi

Hiya Yakko (Japanese chilled tofu): usually made with silken tofu, but can be made with medium-firm tofu, oboro tofu or zaru tofu. Tofu is chilled and then garnished with toppings, such as scallions, grated fresh ginger, soy sauce, katsuobushi, etc.

Tofu Dengaku (miso-glazed broiled tofu): Tofu is brushed with a soy sauce glaze and lightly broiled, and then brushed with a miso sauce and cooked until bubbling, then served on a skewer.

Agedashi Tofu (deep-fried tofu): Pressed tofu is dredged in potato starch and then fried until lightly crisp and golden, then served with garnishes.

miso soup

Miso shiru (miso soup): tofu is often included in miso soup

Yu dofu (warm simmered tofu hot pot)

Ma po dofu (spicy tofu with beef and sichuan peppercorn): A Chinese dish, but a Japanese favorite

ma po dofu

Ganmodoki (“mock goose,” aka tofu and vegetable fritters): old food, originating sometime around the 1400s. Often served in oden hot pots. Tofu and finely shredded/chopped vegetables mixed with grated yamaimo (or egg white and cornstarch) and fried.

Unagi Modoki (“faux-nagi,” sweet and savory tofu eel): Faux eel fillets made from mashed tofu, salt, sugar, soy sauce, cornstarch, and nori spread of pieces of nori, then fried and brushed with glaze.

Kitsune Udon (Foxy Tofu Noodle Soup): Kitsune means fox in Japanese, and are portrayed as being fond of fried tofu. Kitsune udon is an udon noodle soup served with abura-age tofu in it.

Okara doughnuts: Deep-fried donuts made with okara. Okara replaces some of the flour in a doughnut recipe to make them. They are crisp and pillowy, less sweet than traditional American doughnuts, and FABULOUS!!

Crispy tofu is a hit with the kids.

Tofu doughnuts? Yes, please!

We have a special guest on the show this week! We had an awesome interview with Andrea Nguyen, the very lovable author of the recently-released cookbook, Asian Tofu.

Asian Tofu

When you’re done listening to the podcast, check out this neat video where she demonstrates how to pick out and tell the difference between different types of tofu:

We really hope you loved the interview with Andrea as much as we did. She’s so much fun! In honor of our very first guest on the podcast…

We are giving away one copy of Andrea’s cookbook, Asian Tofu! All you have to do to be entered to win is…

Leave a comment on this post before 11:59pm Pacific Time on Monday, April 9th.

One entry per person. We will ship internationally… so everyone is free to enter. Good luck!

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  • Jenne Apr 2, 2012 at 9:08am
    Yay! Cookbook!
  • Hahn Apr 2, 2012 at 2:52pm
    Tofu is also great in Korean soups! Like Kimchi Jjigae or their Spicy tofu soup! I <3 being Korean!
  • Jamie Andreasen Apr 2, 2012 at 5:58pm
    Just a guy that loves to cook for family and friends. Always looking for new foods to cook. Thank You
  • Michaela Apr 2, 2012 at 6:06pm
    I <3 Tofu! It's amazing how versatile it is and what a great vegetarian protein source too. Thanks for this podcast episode and giveaway :)
  • Stacie Apr 2, 2012 at 6:29pm
    Thanks for this. I participated in No Meat March and spent hours scouring for tofu recipes, and now it's one of my favorite things to cook.
  • Carol Apr 2, 2012 at 6:30pm
    I'm excited for this book, My family and I eat plenty of tofu and would Iike to make my own.
  • Eleanor Hoh Apr 2, 2012 at 6:30pm
    Love this site! Good you've made tofu a STAR! It gets such a bad rap. Love Andrea's video. Would love her Tofu book!
  • Debbie L Apr 2, 2012 at 10:24pm
    Tofu is truly one of my favorite foods. I love the texture, the versatility... Everything! And winning the cookbook would rock! Thanks for the chance!
  • Kirsten Spear Apr 3, 2012 at 4:58am
    I just love Andrea's work. I was able to meet her at the Asian Art Museum in San Fransisco during a demonstration and book signing, and I've been a huge fan ever since. I can't wait to see this book!!!
  • Kenny Apr 3, 2012 at 12:50pm
    My great uncle ran a tofu shop back in japan! Maybe that makes me a junior tofu nerd!
  • Ken M Apr 4, 2012 at 12:17pm
    A gratuitous comment to gain entry to the giveaway. Really, I'm trying to expand my cooking horizons and tofu is an area I haven't broached...yet.
  • Kaitlin Apr 5, 2012 at 10:48am
    This episode made me really want some tofu! I'd love to learn some new more creative ways to prepare it, and maybe even try making it at home someday.
  • terri Apr 5, 2012 at 1:49pm
    I love tofu in all forms--now I want to try making my own!
  • Emma Apr 5, 2012 at 2:40pm
    I just found your blog and I'm so excited! And tofu? Yay!
  • Christine Apr 5, 2012 at 4:19pm
    What would I do without tofu?!?!?! :)
  • J Apr 5, 2012 at 7:07pm
    :D Tofu for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner, for dessert, for a snack - forEVER!
  • Angy Apr 5, 2012 at 7:18pm
    Love love looooove tofu! I love it plain. For a little nibble/snack I like to slice off some tofu, pat it with a paper towel so it gets a little drier and chewier... then just eat it plain! That's how much I adore tofu. :)
  • Cat Apr 6, 2012 at 12:33am
    oo awesome! tofu rocks!
  • Annie Apr 6, 2012 at 1:44am
    Glad to see Andrea Nguyen's work everywhere! :)
  • dave Apr 6, 2012 at 4:09am
    thanks for this giveaway!
  • gail Apr 6, 2012 at 4:43am
    looks like a great cookbook!
  • Laura Apr 6, 2012 at 6:09am
    Great post! Andrea's cookbooks are fantastic, and I also recommend her Asian Dumpling cookbook as well as Asian Tofu. Thanks for the giveaway!!
  • Elaine Apr 6, 2012 at 9:45am
    What a great cookbook!
  • Pat Apr 6, 2012 at 12:55pm
    I loved this episode as I have always been one of those who has never appreciated tofu. I love the taste of agedashi tofu, but then it's fried and so creamy inside. I would love to have Andrea's book and try making my own tofu!
  • leslie Apr 7, 2012 at 5:04am
    And I thought And I thought that I was the only one that loves tofu:-)!!!
  • madlen Apr 8, 2012 at 8:11pm
    I would love to win a copy please, thanks!
  • Hannah Apr 9, 2012 at 9:41am
    I've wanted to make my own tofu for the longest time now, but am still a bit intimidated by it. Maybe this book would give me the courage to finally give it a try! It certainly looks very inspiring.
  • Julie Apr 9, 2012 at 11:00am
    What a fun episode! My SO doesn't eat meat so we are always looking for new ways to cook up tofu.
  • Danielle O'Brien Apr 9, 2012 at 3:38pm
    My family has always had Hiya Yakko with our meals, I just never realized it had an official name, I just assumed this is how you eat tofu. My favorite is sliced scallion with shoyu. Yum Yum! I'll have to try it with homemade tofu soon.
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