Toa Hu เต้าหู้
Tofu is a Chinese ingredient that Thais inherit along with other ingredients from other parts of the world.
Tofu is very similar to cheese in many ways. There are several types of tofu; silky, soft, firm, extra firm, pressed marinated in soy sauce, cubed fried- just to give you some examples.
In Thailand tofu is made fresh daily. Raw soybeans are soaked then milled with water to get soy milk. A coagulated agent is added to curd the tofu. The curds are gathered in cheesecloth and weighed down by a heavy stone to remove excess water. The soft silky tofu is not pressed but left to gel in a container.
Silky tofu, firm tofu and extra firm tofu come bathed in water in a plastic tub. Drain the water before using. Keep all fresh tofu covered with water in a refrigerator. Change water daily. I find that I can keep my tofu fresh for a week with this method.
Soft tofu also comes in UHT(ultra-high temperature) container that requires no refrigeration. I usually have a few handy in my pantry because it is easy to keep and has long shelf life.
Soft Silken Tofu
Tou Hu On เต้าหู้อ่อน
Soft silken tofu is very soft and have a jello texture. This type of tofu has the highest water content. The jello texture makes it very difficult to handle.
The soft silken tofu can be served simply without furher cooking by adding soy sauce. It is also popular in soup dishes.
Tau Hu เต้าหู้
Firm tofu has less water content than soft or silky tofu. It looks similar to feta cheese and has feta cheese’s firmness but is not crumbly. During the tofu making process, the holes inside the tofu are formed when the tofu curds are pressed together to get rid of water.
The tofu is usually sold in a sealed plastic tub with water. After the package is open, change water daily and keep tofu submerged in the water to keep it fresh. Keep the tofu refridgerated and use it within a few days.
At some Asian stores, you might want to look for tofu in a large tub with several pieces of tofu lying submerged on the bottom of the tub. When you get the tofu home, keep it submerged under water and refridgerated.
Firm Tofu is available at Asian Markets and supermarkets like Safeway and Trader Joe's.
tou hu kang เต้าหู้แข็ง
Pressed tofu comes in different forms and many names. The pressed tofu has the least water content of all the fresh tofu (not dried). They can be baked or marinated. Look for names like pressed bean curd, baked tofu, super firm tofu, baked bean curd and bean cakes. They come in small plastic bag in refrigerator section. The colors range from off white to dark brown. In Thailand, they are bright yellow!
fong tou hu ฟองเต้าหู้
In the process of making soy milk, the top layer of the milk forms a thin film. This film is picked up with a long stick. The skin is then hung until dry. Some of the skin is pushed together to form thicker tofu. The thin sheets are good for soup and wrap. The thicker ones are good for soup and other stew dishes. You will find the tofu skin in large plastic bag in dry good section. There is no need to soak the tofu skin before cooking if you are making soup with it.
Cubed Deep Fried Tofu
Tau Hu Puong เต้าหู้พวง
Cubed fried tofu - comes in a small plastic bag. The inside is hollow. I put these in the oven for a few minutes. They will come out crispy again.