How to cook tofu and tofu benefits (豆腐)

I often see tofu sold in supermarkets overseas. Unfortunately, it seems it does not popular because they do not know how they can cook Tofu. It is said kinds vegitarian food or for diet. But,  unfortunately, that is the wrong view. 

Today, I introduce the types of tofu and the way of making them. About some recipes,  I describe them on another page.


Tofu means a curd made from soya beans. But to be honest, in Japan, tofu is not only made from soybeans. It looks like a huge piece of cheese but it’s quite different.
It’s more about the texture than the taste. 

Tofu benefits

tofu benefit

In view of nutrition, Tofu has low in calories while it contains a lot of protein, amino acids, iron, calcium. Health-conscious people or dieter eat them well.

Soybeans are rich in isoflavones, which have a chemical structure and function similar to that of the female hormone estrogen.
This keeps women young. It also helps to prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of cancer.

The recommended intake for women is 50ml. This is roughly 110g of tofu. (This is as for Japanese woman)

Tofu health risks

tofu risk

Excessive intake of soy isoflavones may promote uterine and breast cancer. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about taking supplements.

Tofu taste


Tofu itself does not have a strong flavor, so we usually add some different flavors to tofu depending on recipe.

5 types

There are actually 5 types of tofu. The following are some of them. Some are unfamiliar to people in other countries.

Kinugoshidofu (絹ごし豆腐)


“Kinugoshi” means  “filtered using silk. so, this tofu silken tofu. The texture is  softer and more smooth than Momendofu.

We often eat Hiyayakko, chilled tofu dressed with , katsuobushi, chopped leeks, and grated ginger, over soy sauce. Or eating it with miso soup.

I introduce some typical recipes here.

How to make easy kinugoshidofu

Although tofu is made in a pot using bittern and soybeans, this recipe is not using a pot, but just microwave!

general recipe is as follows,

FYI: Enjoy Home made

Oborodofu / Zarudofu (おぼろ豆腐 / ざる豆腐)


“Oboro” basic means hazy, but this meanings is to collapse easily in this case. This tofu is the basis of all tofu.

“Zaru” means bamboo basket. Tofu is put in a bamboo basket is called “Zarudofu”. When tofu is put in this one , tofu drains naturally, so this texture is a slightly firmer than the other tofu.

These type of tofu are very delicate in taste and texture. You can taste real tofu flavour.

Okinawan “Shima Tofu” is almost the same.

How to make Zarudofu


Add the bittern to the warm soy milk and let it harden. Put the mixture in a bamboo basket.

FYI: Orange page

Oborodofu recipe


 We often eat it as Hiyayakko also. 

It is often served in a bamboo basket style, so you take a plate and pour soy sauce over it before eating.

Well…the tofu connoisseurs eat it with rock salt, though.

Momendofu / Yosedofu (木綿豆腐 / よせ豆腐)


“Momen” means cotton. This is the firm middle tofu.  The texture is harder than Kinugoshidofu.

While the kind that’s scooped and put into a container directly without soaking in water is called “Yosedofu”.

This tofu is more densely packed with nutrients, so it has more nutrients than silken tofu. And, this is best when grilled or cooked. We often eat putting one in the pot or simmered.

I introduce typical recipes here.

How to make Momendofu

If you have the tofu making kit, you should buy it. You can make real tofu with a strong soybean flavor.

*You can buy this kit by Rakuten express.

FYI: Enjoy Home made

Yakidofu (焼き豆腐)


“Yaki” mans grill. This tofu is that grilled after drained. This is often used middle firm Tofu. 

The texture is hard so that It is used in various dishes such as Sukiyaki, Dengaku, or simmer. Because, this tofu is hard to break.

How to easy make Yakidofu


Simply grill the drained the memen tofu overnight in a frying pan to brown it.

FYI: Rakuten recipe

Yakidofu recipe

Nikudofu (肉豆腐)

This texture is hard so that It is used in various dishes such as Sukiyaki, Dengaku, or simmer.

“Niku” means meat. This is a typical recipe for Yakidofu.

FYI: Nadia

Koyadoufu (高野豆腐)


Koya Tofu is tofu that is frozen and dried. The name comes from Koyasan temples in Wakayama prefecture. It was first made in the lodge of temple for monks at Koyasan.

It has another name “Kooridofu (凍り豆腐)” also. This means freezing tofu.
I introduce recipes here.

Koyasan (高野山)


“Koya” means the name of mountain in Koyasan, Wakayama prefecture.
Koya Tofu is invented by monks there, freeze-dried tofu.

How to go there

There is also a bike path that takes 1-2hours or so ride up the mountain.
The direct express train “Tokkyu Koya”  is from Osaka for 1.5hours.

FYI: NANKAI railway

How to easy make Koyadofu


Very  easy! Just freeze Momendofu all night long.



There are kinds of tofu that the seasoned tofu, or just name is called “Tofu” because texture is similar.

Matchadofu (抹茶豆腐)

matcha dofu

It is also known as sweet tofu, and there are sweetened tofu products like a pumpkin tofu.

In Taiwan, Tofu is kind a dessert. This is also eaten with black syrup like a dessert. But not general in Japan.

Jii maa mi tofu (ジーマミー豆腐)

“Jiimaami” is peanuts in Okinawan dialect. This is peanut tofu.

FYI: Youtube 

Tamagodofu (卵豆腐)

tamago dofu

“Tamago” means egg.  It is called tofu, but there is no soybeans and bittern used.

Eat it with cold kombu dashi.

How to make tamagodofu


It is a Japanese dish made by steaming a liquid mixture of dashi broth and eggs.

FYI: QP 3min cooking

Tamagodofu recipe

Sumasijiru (すまし汁)


“Sumashijiru” means Japanese clear soup. “Suimono (吸い物)” is called also.
The tamagodofu has a lot of flavor, so the broth should be light.

FYI: E-recipe

Gomadofu (ごま豆腐)

goma dofu

The ingredients are sesame seeds and arrowroot powder. It is often served in Shojin-ryori (精進料理).

We usually eat it with wasabi and dashi-soy sauce. I prefer it as a dessert with kuromitsu (黒蜜), though.

How to easy make Gomadofu

This recipe uses potato starch to make Gomadofu in just 10 minutes!
FYI: Misa Enomoto Seasonal recipe

Gomadofu​​ recipe

It is milled sesame seeds until it feels smooth on the tongue, then mix with Kuzuko (葛粉 / kudzu starch / arrow roots starch) melt in water and cooked.
mixing until it looks like silk. puting it in a mold and chill like tofu.

FYI: Tokyo gas



Japanese loves soybeans as you know. We eat it boiled, roasted or fermented even! I introduce some processed foods made from soybeans.

Aburraage (油揚げ)


“Abura” means oil. “age” means deep-fry. This food is deep-fried Tofu. It is often called as “Inari”. There is not food of “Inari age”
“Inari” means it is believed to be a favorite food of foxes, messengers of the rice god Inari.

I introduce aburaage recipe here. You can make Inari tofu pockets easily!

Aburaage fox


You know the most famous Inari shrine is Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto. This is the largest one in Japan, guarded by foxes.

In fact, they love rat tempura, and they say rat tempura and Inarizushi taste similar…
Try rat tempura! I don’t want to, sorry.

How to easy make Aburaage!

aburaage yunuki

Cutting tofu that has been drained overnight into 1cm thick slices. then deep-fry in oil at 170°C for 3 minutes. 

Before eating, pour hot water over them to remove the oil. This is called “Yunuki (油抜き)”.

This needs to remove the oil from the surface, because making the flavors absorb.

That is just pour boiling water over the surface or cook in hot water for a few minute.

Yuba (湯葉)


“Yuba” means tofu skin. When soy bean milk is simmered over low heat, it will be like a film on the surface. This is Yuba that is one of the traditional food in Kyoto. 

How to easy make Yuba

You can make Yuba easily! It can also be made in a pan. The only ingredient is plain soymilk.

FYI: Nadia

Yuba recipe

It is eaten like Sashimi with wasabi and soy sauce, called “Yubasashi”. But Japanese except for Kyoto people do not eat this food so much. Texture is rubber of Tofu…

Okara (おから)


 Okara is the soybean lees when making tofu.
We eat it boilled or roasted for a side dish. Recently, it is often used for diet or vegetarian food. 
I introduce okara recipe here.

How to easy make Okara


Okara is the lees that are squeezed out when making soy milk. You can not eat without frying for 10min.


Okara powder

Okara powder is sold in Japan. We often use it in yogurt or as a substitute for meat in hamburgers steak.
It is so rich in dietary fiber that good for diet. It has also soy isoflavone which is good for beauty and health.

Natto (納豆)


“Natto” means fermented soybeans. This has a strong smell and has a slimy consistency. It is eaten on rice, with soy sauce and mustard.

This has rich in protein, highly nutritious, and full of Vitamins B, E, and K also.You can find Natto at every supermarket near you in Japan.

How to make natto

Natto can be made by using the natto as seeds. This person has lived in the UK, makes natto at home.

FYI: Youtube

Natto recipe

Ika natto (いか納豆)

This recipe is simply squid slices and natto mixed with soy sauce and topped with scallions and okra. It goes well with sake.

FYI: Cookpad

Hikiwari natto (ひきわり納豆)


The word “Hikiwari” means crushed. This texture is coarser and tastier than regular whole-bean natto. It is often used in miso soup or as a filling for Temakizushi (hand-rolled sushi.)

Atsuage (厚揚げ)


“Atsuage” means thick blocks of deep-fried tofu.”Agedashi Tofu” and “Thick Fried Bean Curd” are often mixed together, but they are not exactly the same thing.

We often eat it like Hiyayakko.

How to easy make Atsuage

Simply drain momendofu overnight and deep-fry it at 170℃ for about 10 minutes.

FYI: delishkitchen

Easy Atsuage recipe

This is a simple recipe using aluminum foil and baking in a toaster!

FYI: Nadia

Tonyu (豆乳)


“Tonyu” means Soy milk, is a drink made by dipping soybeans in water, mashing them, adding water and boiling. Tofu is made by adding bittern to soy milk and letting it harden.

The exact pronunciation of this is “To-u-nyu-u” which is 4 syllables.

How to Easy make Tonyu


Making soy milk, simply boil crushed soybeans in a blender, but It’s some tricky.

FYI: Cookpad

Tonyu recipe

“Tonyu nabe,” the pot dish with chicken soup, soy milk added, is one of the most popular nabe among Japanese people recently.

FYI: macaroni

Tofuyo / Tofuyou (豆腐よう)


Tofu yo is a fermented tofu, unique in Okinawa prefecture. That is made from tofu, Awamori and salt. Very salty!😣

They are often sold in 1 cm cubes. It is said to be delicious when you eat with Awamori.

How to make tofuyo


Thisi is a unique Okinawa recipe, tofu is pickled using salt, Awamori and koji malted rice. It is very salty and good as a snack for Sake, especially Awamori.

FYI: Rakuten recipe

Ganmodoki (がんもどき)


“Gan” means wild goose. “Modoki “means fake.The originally made as a meat substitute for wild goose meat in  Shojin ryouriThis is the deep-fried tofu like a ball shape, including with seasoned chopped vegetables and kombu.

We often eat this in Oden or simmered. It is also called “Hiryouzu (飛龍頭)” in Western Japan.

How to make Ganmodoki


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Ganmodoki recipe

This is a nimono made with Ganmodoki.

FYI: E-recipe

Tofu Ingredients


These are explanation of tofu ingredients and terms.

Daizu - soy beans(大豆)

Hokkaido is the largest producer of soybeans, but it amounts to only 5% of the total production. Most of Japan’s soybeans are imported from China.

Although there are tofu products made from black and pea beans, they have less protein than soybeans and do not harden easily, so they cannot be used alone to make tofu.

Nigari - bittern(苦汁)

This is concentrated solution of magnesium chloride of seawater.

It is also written in Chinese characters as “bitter water” in Japan.

Nigari sets tofu.

Go / Gojiru (呉 / 呉汁)


A paste made by soaking soybeans in water and grinding them is called “Go”. This is Okara lees before heating.
On the other hand, the squeezed water from Go with a cloth is called “Gojiru”.

These words often come up when making tofu.

Tonyu - Soy bean milk(豆乳)


We often make tofu in the microwave by adding bittern to plain soy milk.

Kuzuko - kudzu starch(葛粉)


It is called arrowroot powder also. Used to make Gomadofu or Jiimaami Tofu. It is often substituted for potato starch.

This powder is often used in Japanese sweets.

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