The smooth and tasty silken tofu is a delight for our recipes. In the west, tofu is often seen as a meat substitute enjoyed by vegans. However, in East Asia, it is a very common ingredient that stands on its own merit.
Thankfully, an increasing number of silken tofu recipes are embracing the versatility and taste of this ingredient.
Let’s get a better look and see how it all adds up.
What Is Silken Tofu – Texture, Taste, And Key Properties
Silken tofu is a softer, more creamy type of tofu. It has more moisture than conventional tofu and is very easy to break. Its creaminess is generally down to the high moisture content. As such, many recipes will call for draining water from silken tofu before use.
That said, this is an incredibly versatile ingredient. It’s great for adding to recipes as is, or you could fry it, roast it, or handle it any way you prefer.
Deep frying tofu is pretty popular and gives it a crisp texture. You could also get creative and create a recipe that’s crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Frying often requires pressing the tofu to reduce its moisture or water content.
So what makes tofu so versatile?
On its own, tofu has a plain flavor – it’s practically tasteless, though it does have a soy smell. Its smooth and creamy texture works well with most recipes and gives them an amazing mouthfeel.
In a general sense, tofu is made from soy milk proteins, in a way that’s similar to the production of cheese, or rather, cottage cheese.
Firm tofu is the most widely available option. Although, soft or silken tofu is fairly easily available too. Silken tofu generally needs refrigeration when stored, or when stocked in stores. Although, shelf-stable versions with aseptic packaging are available too.
To reiterate, an important aspect of silken tofu compared to normal tofu is its higher moisture content. This gives it a smooth and silky texture that works well for mouthfeel and overall texture.
Now that we understand it, let’s take a look at some of the recipes that use silken tofu.
19 Wonderful Recipes With Silken Tofu
This is a simple and remarkable recipe that doesn’t fail to catch attention. Silken Tofu With Spicy Soy Dressing looks and tastes great. What’s even better is that it’s remarkably easy to prepare and takes just a few minutes to be ready.
Silken Tofu With Spicy Soy Dressing takes inspiration from classic recipes like Japanese hiyayakko and Chinese liangban tofu, though it’s not the same as either.
There are two parts of this recipe:
- The Dressing: Mix a quarter cup of soy sauce with some rice vinegar, chile oil, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and sugar. Adding some scallions is a nice touch.
- The Tofu: Get the silken tofu out of its packaging carefully, you can drain the water in the packaging. It’s better if the block stays intact, but it’s okay if it breaks. Pat the tofu with a kitchen towel or two to absorb as much water as possible.
Your next step is putting the tofu on a plate and pouring the dressing over it. This recipe is often enjoyed cold, though it’s as good when enjoyed at room temperature.
That’s it! A delicious recipe ready to enjoy.
2. (Silken) Soft Tofu With Scallions And Soy
This soft tofu recipe is very similar to our previous recipe of tofu with soy dressing. However, in this one, we’ll use a few more ingredients for a more refined touch.
The dressing here includes a small quantity of soy sauce with sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, honey, minced garlic, green onions, and gochugaru. If you don’t have gochugaru, feel free to use your choice of chili flakes or chili powder.
Put these ingredients (except the chili and honey) in a saucepan and let the mix cook over low heat. It will take about 5-7 minutes until the garlic is cooked. Once done, you can add the honey and chili, and mix them thoroughly.
Since the dressing is more complex, it adds a greater variety of flavors to the tofu. Remember to drain out the liquid and pat dry the silken tofu before using it for this dish.
How about we make our spicy silken tofu a bit richer by adding some tomatoes to the mix! The overall setup still follows the dressing plus tofu model, but this time, our dressing includes cherry tomatoes!
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and mix them with other ingredients like soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, olive oil, sliced scallions, and sliced basil. Add these to a saucepan and cook for a few minutes on low heat. As the tomatoes begin to soften and release juices, remove heat from the pan.
Pour these ingredients over blocks of dried silken tofu and enjoy your meal.
This is a more complex recipe, and it’s a full meal rather than a snack. The preparation time and the effort required are higher too, but the reward is sumptuous!
The ingredients usually include a carrot, yellow onions, shiitake mushrooms, and some green bell peppers. Some sunflower or canola oil is necessary too.
We’ll also need some spicy sauce, which is very similar to the dressing we’ve seen in previous recipes. This includes a couple of cups of vegetable broth, rice vinegar, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, toasted sesame oil, and pressed garlic. You can also use a thickener like cornstarch.
Stir fry the veggies in the sunflower oil, then add the sauce and tofu to the mix. When the mix starts to boil, cook for a couple of minutes and then remove from heat.
This is an interesting recipe that looks and tastes very similar to scrambled eggs. The ingredients are Himalayan black salt (kala namak), silken tofu, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, and paprika.
Crumble the tofu into a pan and add the seasoning (except the black salt). Stir fry this combo until the liquid from the tofu evaporates and it takes on a slightly crispy and chewy appearance. Now’s the time to add the salt and enjoy the scrambled tofu!
Here’s another recipe where tofu can work as a substitute for eggs. The recipe needs silken tofu, nutritional yeast, chickpea flour, turmeric, onion powder, and garlic powder. Add all the ingredients to a blender and run it until a smooth batter forms.
On a pan, add some oil and follow it with the batter. Carefully spread the batter across the pan to give it the desirable shape.
7. Steamed Tofu
This is a simple and quick recipe. Drain water from the silken tofu and get it into a plate. Cut the tofu into pieces, each about 2cm thick. Steam the tofu for 8-10 minutes. Once this is done, remove any excess water.
The companion to this tofu will be the dressing we’ve used earlier. You can also add oyster sauce to the mix for a change in taste. Remember, the dressing needs to be cooked so that the scallions and garlic taste (and smell) better.
Silken tofu soup builds on the traditional Korean tofu soup. This usually includes a lot of meat like beef, seafood, chicken, pork, ham, or sausage and cheese. Although, you can choose to replace these with some vegan protein sources.
It takes time to prepare the soup. Although the silken tofu is important for the soup, gochugaru chilies form the base that gives it a beautiful color and taste. It often uses some kimchi as well.
Vegan mayo uses the velvety texture of silken tofu to get that classic mayo texture in a vegan setting. For this recipe, you’ll need silken tofu, aquafaba, apple cider vinegar, some lemon juice, kosher salt, and ground mustard. Optional ingredients include brown rice syrup and kala namak.
Use an immersion blender to mix all the ingredients and get them to the desired consistency. Adding more aquafaba or tofu might be necessary for the right consistency.
The role of greens in this recipe is handled by bok choy, though it also includes a generous serving of spring onions. Other ingredients include soy sauce, sesame oil, chili flakes, some brown sugar, and a touch of Chinese rice wine.
Cooking involves steaming the veggies and tofu, mixed with rice wine, soy sauce, and some brown sugar. In a different pan, stir fry the spring onion and ginger to reduce the smell and taste. When done, pour this mix over the tofu and serve with rice.
Shiraae is one of the conventional recipes using silken tofu. The combination of blanched vegetables with sesame seeds gives the sauce a really nice touch. Some miso paste and mirin make for a really nice touch to this recipe.
Hiyayakko is a Japanese dish made with tofu. It can be fairly simple or quite decadent, so there’s a fair bit of variation in how you can enjoy it. This dish is usually served cold, and includes soft tofu with some dressing.
You could have soft tofu topped with finely chopped scallions and ginger with a drizzle of soy sauce. Or, you could make it more fun by adding bonito flakes, shiso leaf, and daikon.
Shakshuka is a popular recipe that’s conventionally made with eggs. However, if you want a vegan meal, silken tofu can do a good job at replacing the eggs. Some experienced chefs can make it so that the dish with tofu not only tastes, but also looks like the traditional Shakshuka cooked with eggs.
The recipe has North African origins. Tofu is used here as a substitute for eggs to make the recipe vegan.
Let’s deep fry the tofu to get that delicious crunchiness. Also, because we love to fry things! Coat thick cubes of tofu with potato starch and fry it in a neutral oil. Something like canola oil will do great. Sunflower oil works too, but it has taste undernotes, so it’s not the ideal choice.
Fry until the dish is golden brown and serve with a topping of grated daikon.
This is quite similar to the deep-fried tofu recipe but we change the ingredients for a different approach. This one employs a batter made from chickpea flour, salt, and pepper. The batter coats cubes of silken tofu and is then embedded with bread crumbs.
Fry until you get a golden brown color. Serve with a dipping sauce. Usually, a combo of sweet chili sauce and mayonnaise works wonders.
16. Vegan Korean Silken Tofu Stew
Silken tofu comes together with chopped scallions to form this recipe. Kimchi adds taste to this recipe, while gochugaru (Korean red chilies) form a hot base for the recipe.
As the name of the dish implies, the job of tofu here is to imitate the taste and texture of chicken. There is some finesse involved in making a vegan BBQ, but if you know your way around the ingredients, it shouldn’t be all that difficult.
The key ingredients here are silken tofu, vital wheat gluten, garlic powder, onion powder, and some water. For better flavor and seasoning, you can look for the vegan version of bouillon cubes, chicken seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce.
The process involves mixing the ingredients to make a dough. Then, flat pieces of this dough can be cut and rolled to form cutlets. Once you’re ready, steam these cutlets to get your dish. Keep in mind, steaming can take 30 minutes or even longer.
Tiramisu is a lovable delicacy, though one not so easily available to vegans. But what if we replaced the eggs with a vegan ingredient? Enter, silken tofu.
The ingredient list includes instant coffee, oats, cocoa powder, and of course, silken tofu to make it eggless. Blending all the ingredients and whipping up a nice tiramisu is the way to go!
What would a list of recipes be if we didn’t adda nice salad to it? Vegan Olivier Salad is an excellent match for tofu. Also known as Russian Salad, Vegan Olivier Salad is often rich in chunks of ham, pieces of boiled eggs, and mayonnaise.
Thankfully, silken tofu is a good way to replace all these non-vegan ingredients. Prepare the ingredients and add some silken tofu to the salad. You can also make vegan mayonnaise to go along the salad for a similar texture, while keeping it all vegan.
This article covers some practical silken tofu recipes as well as some imaginative ones. After all, tofu is an incredibly versatile ingredient that stands on its own merit and can also work as a substitute for non-vegan ingredients. Take a look at this list and see what fits with your diet preferences.