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Because of the contest, I read up about tofu. It's something I'm not familiar with at all, I've only eaten it twice. I came across the term 'silken tofu'. I only know this by name.

I've found that silken tofu is in short tofu that's not well pressed. It's consistency is custard-like. My question is if this is correct. Are there any other differences, apart from the moisture content?

Another question is how to handle this. You can't fry custard AFAIK (although I'm willing to try ;-) ). So do you always use it raw? Or do you bake it in the oven? Do you use it as a 'sauce' with fried veggies? Or should/can you drain/press it yourself? If you would drain/press it yourself, would you have the same result as store-bought regular tofu?

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Just a little fun tip - Silken Tofu is often manufactured INSIDE the carton you buy it in. Hot soy milk and coagulant are added directly to the carton, which is then sealed. The coagulant then does it's magic and the tofu forms inside the carton. This is also why most silken tofu doesn't require refrigeration - it was put in the package above pasteurization temperature, and hasn't been opened since. –  Sam Ley Feb 17 '12 at 3:25

3 Answers 3

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Yes, silken tofu is undrained tofu. In Japan it is often eaten raw, in dishes like miso soup or even simply dipped in soy sauce. However, you can certainly cook it as well - it is especially useful as an egg substitute in vegan cookery (any number of recipes online).

Firm tofu is probably better for frying with as it holds its shape. If you have the time, patience and equipment (some form of weight and some muslin) you could press silken tofu to make firm, but firm is just as readily available.

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Yeah I would definitely not bother trying to make firm tofu from silken tofu. Just buy firm! –  pfctdayelise Feb 16 '12 at 23:26

Non-textured, or 'Silken' tofu (which comes in extra soft, soft, firm and extra firm varieties, just to be confusing), is typically used in sauces that would otherwise call for cream (I have used it in vegan mornay- and bechamel- style sauces), or in making cheeses (i.e. ricotta), and things requiring softer cheese (i.e. cheesecake) as a component. It is also used in dips and smoothies.

I use it in cooking for my vegan half and half (1 part soy milk to 1 part silken) as vegan half and half is more pricey. My girlfriend frequently uses it in vegan egg-salad (the secret is in using turmeric for color and black salt for the sulfurous egg-y taste), I have used it as a dressing for cucumber salad in place of mayonnaise.

It is a versatile component in both vegan desserts, and sauces, but textured tofu is typically the fore-runnner in terms of entrees due to it's flexibility (and compatibility with meat in most preparations) in frying and baking.

Typical recipes involve prepping it as a raw ingredient or a component of another element (i.e. sauces), and not a finished product like textured or sprouted or fermented tofus.

In assessing whether, or how, you would want to use it, I would recommend that you taste it raw. It has a nutty flavor that many people find either bland or too-much-like-tofu. Although I cannot account for the reaction your will palate will shoot to your brain, I can say it is easily flavored and the soy bean flavor overwhelmed. In making some desserts, for better or worse, it will feature more prominently if there are no other flavors to crowd it out.

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Soups and heavily sauced dishes are typical of silken tofu dishes. The soft curd is just gently slid in long enough to heat thru.

Served sliced cold and dressed with oily and sour or spicy dressing is appreciated for its contrast to other hot dishes.

I wouldn't recommend trying to press silken but boiling will firm it up a bit.

In vegan scramble, a smaller ratio of silken to firm tofu replicates the runny portion of soft cooked egg.

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