Food Guts - Ingredient Information

Ingredient Lookup


Nutritional Information

1 slice, tofu

  • Calories 52
  • Calories from Fat 20.43
  • Amount%DV
  • Total Fat 2.27g3%
  • Saturated Fat 0.341g2%
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0.453g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 1.247g
  • Cholestreol 0mg0%
  • Sodium 30mg1%
  • Potassium 163mg5%
  • Total Carbohydrate 2.02g1%
  • Dietary Fiber 0.1g0%
  • Sugars 1.07g
  • Protein 5.8g12%
  • Calcium 3mg0%
  • Iron 5mg28%
  • Vitamin A 0%
  • Vitamin C 0%

Tofu Cooking Considerations:

No Cooking Considerations yet. Add some!

Tofu Storage Considerations:

No Storage Considerations yet. Add some!

Tofu Substitutions:

No Substitutions yet. Add some!

Tofu on Wikipedia:

For other uses, see Tofu (disambiguation). This article contains Chinese text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters. Tofu Seasoned tofu squares in a Chinese dish Chinese name Traditional Chinese 荳腐 or 豆腐 Simplified Chinese 豆腐 Hanyu Pinyin dòufu Literal meaning bean curd Transliterations Hakka - Romanization teu55 fu55 Mandarin - Hanyu Pinyin dòufu - Wade–Giles tou-fu Min - Hokkien POJ tāu-hū Wu - Romanization deu去 vu去 (Wuu Pinyin) [dɤɯ.vʊ] (IPA) Cantonese - Jyutping dau6-fu6 - Yale Romanization dauh-fuh Filipino name Tagalog tokwa[1][2] Japanese name Kanji 豆腐 Hiragana とうふ Transliterations - Revised Hepburn tōfu - Kunrei-shiki tôhu Korean name Hangul 두부 Hanja 豆腐 Transliterations - Revised Romanization dubu[3][4] - McCune- Reischauer tubu Malay name Malay tauhu Tamil name Tamil tahu Thai name Thai เต้าหู้ (IPA: tâohûː) Vietnamese name Vietnamese đậu phụ or đậu hũ or tàu hũ Khmer name Khmer តៅហ៊ូ Indonesian name Indonesian tahu

Tofu (豆腐, tofu?), or bean curd[5] is a soft white food made by coagulating soy milk, and then pressing the resulting curds into blocks. It is of Chinese origin,[6] and part of East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Vietnamese[7] and others.[8] There are many different varieties of tofu, including fresh tofu and tofu that has been processed in some way. Tofu has very little flavor or smell on its own, so it can be used either in savory or sweet dishes, and is often seasoned or marinated to suit the dish.

Tofu originated in Han dynasty in ancient China,[6] Li Shizhen in Ming Dynasty described the method of making tofu in Bencao Gangmu[9]. Tofu and its production technique were subsequently introduced into Korea, then Japan[10][11][12] during the Nara period, and Taiwan. It also spread into other parts of East Asia as well.[13] This spread likely coincided with the spread of Buddhism as it is an important source of proteins in the vegetarian diet of East Asian Buddhism.[10]

Tofu is low in calories, contains a relatively large amount of iron and contains little fat. Depending on the coagulant used in manufacturing, the tofu may also be high in calcium and/or magnesium.



The English word ``tofu`` comes from the Japanese tōfu (豆腐), listen (help·info) which itself derives from the Chinese dòufu (豆腐 or 荳腐). Although in both languages the characters together translate as ``bean curd,`` the literal meaning of the individual characters is ``bean`` (豆) and ``curdled`` (腐).[14][15]

The English word ``bean curd`` for tofu was coined by Sinologist Emil Bretschneider in 1870. He wrote, ``Bean-curd is one of the most important articles of food in China`` in the Chinese Recorder and Missionary Journal[16].


tofu (raw) Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) Energy 318 kJ (76 kcal) Carbohydrates 1.9 g Fat 4.8 g saturated 0.7 g Protein 8.1 g Calcium 350 mg (35%) Iron 5.4 mg (43%) Magnesium 30 mg (8%) Sodium 7 mg (0%) Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults. Source: USDA Nutrient database

Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the resulting curds. Although pre-made soy milk may be used, most tofu producers begin by making their own soy milk, which is produced by soaking, grinding, boiling and straining dried (or, less commonly, fresh) soybeans.

Coagulation of the protein and oil (emulsion) suspended in the boiled soy milk is the most important step in the production of tofu. This process is accomplished with the aid of coagulants. Two types of coagulants (salts and acids) are used commercially.[17] The third type of coagulant, enzymes, is not yet used commercially but shows potential for producing both firm and ``silken`` tofu.

Salt coagulants

Calcium sulfate (gypsum): The traditional and most widely used coagulant to produce Chinese-style tofu. It produces a tofu that is tender but slightly brittle in texture. The coagulant itself has no perceivable taste. Use of this coagulant also makes a tofu that is rich in calcium. As such, many tofu manufacturers choose to use this coagulant to be able to market their tofu as a good source of dietary calcium.[citation needed] Chloride-type Nigari salts or Lushui ( Traditional: 鹵水, 滷水; Simplified:卤水 in Chinese) - Magnesium chloride and calcium chloride: Both of these salts have a high solubility rate in water and affect soy protein in the same way, whereas gypsum is only very slightly soluble in water and acts differently in soy protein precipitation, the basis for tofu formation. These are the coagulants used to make tofu with a smooth and tender texture. In Japan, a white powder called nigari, which consists primarily of magnesium chloride, is produced from seawater after the sodium chloride is removed and the water evaporated, which is called Lushui (卤水) in China. Depending on its production method, nigari/Lushui may also contain small quantities of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt), potassium chloride, calcium chloride, and trace amounts of other naturally occurring salts. Although the term nigari is derived from nigai, the Japanese word for ``bitter,`` neither nigari nor pure magnesium chloride imparts a perceivable taste to the finished tofu. Calcium chloride is a common coagulant for tofu in North America.[18] Fresh clean sea water itself can also be used as a coagulant.[19]

Acid coagulants

Glucono delta-lactone (GDL): A naturally occurring organic acid also used in cheese making, which produces a very fine textured tofu that is almost jelly-like. This coagulant is used especially for ``silken`` and softer tofus, and confers an almost imperceptible sour taste to the finished product.[20] Commonly used together with calcium sulfate to give soft tofu a smooth tender texture.

Enzyme coagulants

Among enzymes that have been shown to produce tofu are papain, and alkaline and neutral proteases from microorganisms. In the case of papain, the enzyme to substrate ratio, by weight, was held constant at 1:400. An aliquot of 1% crude papain was added to ``uncooked`` soy milk at room temperature and heated to 90–100 degrees Celsius.[18]

Contemporary tofu manufacturers may choose to use one or more of these coagulants, since they each play a role in producing a desired texture in the finished tofu.[20] Different textures result from different pore sizes and other microscopic features in tofus produced using each coagulant. The coagulant mixture is dissolved into water, and the solution is then stirred into boiled soy milk until the mixture curdles into a soft gel.[17]

The curds are processed differently depending on the form of tofu that is being manufactured. For soft silken tofu (嫩豆腐; nèn dòufu) or tofu flower (豆花, dòuhuā) the soy milk is curdled directly in the tofu's selling package. For standard firm Asian tofu, the soy curd is cut and strained of excess liquid using cheese cloth or muslin and then lightly pressed to produce a soft cake. Firmer tofus, such as Asian dry tofu (豆乾) or Western types of tofu, are further pressed to remove even more liquid. In Vietnam, the curd is strained and molded in a square mold and the end product is called đậu khuôn (molded bean) or đậu phụ (one of the Vietnamese ways to pronounce the Chinese doufu). The tofu curds are allowed to cool and become firm. The finished tofu can then be cut into pieces, flavored or further processed.

Although tartness is sometimes desired in dessert tofu, the acid used in flavoring is usually not the primary coagulant since it is not desirable to the flavor or texture of the resulting tofu to add it in a sufficiently high concentration so as to induce coagulation. A sour taste in tofu and a slight cloudiness in its storing liquid is also usually an indication of bacterial growth and, hence, spoilage.


There is a wide variety of tofu available in both Western and Eastern markets. Despite the daunting variety, tofu products can be split into two main categories: fresh tofu, which is produced directly from soy milk, and processed tofu, which is produced from fresh tofu. Tofu production also creates important side products which are often used in various cuisines.

Fresh tofu

Depending on the amount of water that is extracted from the tofu curds, fresh tofu can be divided into three main varieties.

Silken tofu with soy sauce and a decorative carrot slice

Soft/silken tofu

Soft/silken tofu(嫩豆腐 or 滑豆腐, nèn dòufu or huá dòufu, in Chinese, lit. ``soft tofu`` or ``smooth tofu``; 絹漉し豆腐, kinugoshi tōfu in Japanese, lit. ``silk-filtered tofu``; 순두부, 純豆腐, sundubu in Korean, lit. ``pure tofu``) is undrained tofu that contains the highest moisture content of all fresh tofus.[21] Its texture can be described as similar to that of very fine custard. In Japan and Korea, traditional soft tofu is made with seawater.[22][23][24][25][26]

Douhua (豆花, dòu huā or 豆腐花, dòufu huā in Chinese), or tofu brain (豆腐腦 or 豆腐脑, dòufu naǒ in Chinese), often eaten as a dessert, but sometimes with salty pickles or hot sauce added instead, is another type of soft tofu with an even higher moisture content. Because it is nearly impossible to pick up this type of tofu with chopsticks, it is generally eaten with a spoon. With the addition of flavorings such as finely chopped spring onions, dried shrimp, soy sauce, chilli sauce, douhua is a popular breakfast dish across China. In Malaysia, douhua is usually warm-served with white or dark (palm) sugar water, or cold-served with longan.

Some variation exists among soft tofus. Black douhua (黑豆花) is a type of silken tofu made from plain black soy beans and soybeans, which is usually made into dòuhuā (豆花) rather than firm or dry tofu. The texture of black bean tofu is slightly more gelatinous than regular douhua and the color is greyish in tone. This type of tofu is eaten for the earthy ``black bean taste.``Edamame tofu is a Japanese variety of kinugoshi tōfu made from edamame (fresh green soybeans); it is pale green in color and often studded with whole edamame.

Firm tofu

Firm tofu (called 老豆腐 lǎo dòufu in Chinese; 木綿豆腐, momendōfu in Japanese, lit. ``cotton tofu``): Although drained and pressed, this form of fresh tofu still contains a great amount of moisture. It has the firmness of raw meat but bounces back readily when pressed. The texture of the inside of the tofu is similar to that of a firm custard. The skin of this form of tofu has the pattern of the muslin used to drain it and is slightly more resilient to damage than its inside. It can be picked up easily with chopsticks.[21][27]

Dried tofu

Dried tofu (豆乾, dòu gān in Chinese, lit. ``dry tofu``): An extra firm variety of tofu with the least amount of moisture of all fresh tofu. It has the firmness of fully cooked meat and a somewhat rubbery feel similar to paneer. When sliced thinly, this tofu can be crumbled easily. The skin of this form of tofu has the pattern of the muslin used to drain and press it. Western firm tofu is milled and reformed after the pressing and sometimes lacks the skin with its cloth patterning. One variety of dried tofu is pressed especially flat and sliced into long strings with a cross section smaller than 2 mm × 2 mm. Shredded dried tofu (豆乾絲, dòu gān sÄ« in Chinese, or simply 乾絲, gān sÄ«), which looks like loose cooked noodles, and can be served cold, stir-fried, or similar in style to Japanese aburaage.[27][28] Fresh tofu is usually sold completely immersed in water to maintain its moisture content.

Processed tofu

Many forms of processed tofus exist, due to the varied ways in which fresh tofu can be used. Some of these techniques likely originate from the need to preserve tofu before the days of refrigeration, or to increase its shelf life and longevity. Other production techniques are employed to create tofus with unique textures and flavors.[29]


Pickled tofu (豆腐乳 in Chinese, pinyin: dòufu rǔ, lit. ``tofu dairy,`` or 腐乳; chao in Vietnamese): Also called ``preserved tofu`` or ``fermented tofu,`` this food consists of cubes of dried tofu that have been allowed to fully air-dry under hay and slowly ferment from aerial bacteria.[29] The dry fermented tofu is then soaked in salt water, Chinese wine, vinegar, and minced chiles, or a unique mixture of whole rice, bean paste, and soybeans. In the case of red pickled tofu (紅豆腐乳 in Chinese, Pinyin: hóng dòufu rǔ), red yeast rice (cultivated with Monascus purpureus) is added for color.[30] Stinky tofu (臭豆腐 in Chinese, Pinyin: chòu dòufu): A soft tofu that has been fermented in a unique vegetable and fish brine.[29] The blocks of tofu smell strongly of certain pungent cheeses, and are described by many as rotten and fecal. Despite its strong odor, the flavor and texture of stinky tofu is appreciated by aficionados, who describe it as delightful. The texture of this tofu is similar to the soft Asian tofu that it is made from. The rind that stinky tofu develops from frying is said to be especially crisp, and is usually served with soy sauce, sweet sauce, and/or hot sauce.


Almond ``tofu,`` which is not made of soy milk but rather from gelatin or agarose Chili-peppered egg tofu from Ipoh, Malaysia.

Flavors can be mixed directly into curdling soy milk while the tofu is being produced.

Sweet: Common sweet dessert tofus include peanut tofu (落花生豆腐, luòhuāshēng dòufu in Chinese and jimami-dōfu in Japanese), almond tofu (杏仁豆腐, xìngrén dòufu in Chinese; 杏仁豆腐, annindōfu in Japanese), mango tofu, coconut tofu and longan tofu (龙眼豆花). In order to produce these forms of tofu, sugar, fruit acids, and flavorants are mixed into soy milk prior to curdling. Most sweet tofus have the texture of silken tofu and are served cold. Products called ``almond tofu`` in some cases are actually not made from tofu but are instead gelatinous desserts made from agar or gelatin and whitened with milk or coconut milk. In Japan these are canned with syrup and sold as a sweet dessert. Savory: Egg tofu (Japanese: 玉子豆腐, 卵豆腐, tamagodōfu) (Chinese: 蛋豆腐, dàn dòufu; often called 日本豆腐, rìbĕn dòufu, lit. ``Japan bean curd``) is the main type of savory flavored tofu. Whole beaten eggs are filtered and incorporated into the soy milk before the coagulant is added. The mixture is filled into tube shaped plastic bags and allowed to curdle. The tofu is then cooked in its packaging and sold. Egg tofu has a pale golden color that can be attributed to the addition of egg and, occasionally, food coloring. This tofu has a fuller texture and flavor than silken tofu, which can be attributed to the presence of egg fat and protein.


With the exception of the softest tofus, all forms of tofu can be fried. Thin and soft varieties of tofu are deep fried in oil until they are light and airy in their core (豆泡 dòupào, 豆腐泡 doufupao, 油豆腐 youdoufu, or 豆卜 doubu in Chinese, literally ``bean bubble,`` describing the shape of the fried tofu as a bubble). Tofus such as firm Asian and dry tofu, with their lower moisture content, are cut into bite-sized cubes or triangles and deep fried until they develop a golden-brown, crispy surface (炸豆腐 in Chinese, zhà dòufu, lit. ``fried tofu``). These may be eaten on their own or with a light sauce, or further cooked in liquids; they are also added to hot pot dishes or included as part of the vegetarian dish called