April 29, 2013: Chilled Tofu

April 29, 2013

Chilled TofuOh, dear…I’m afraid I may lose some of you with this one. [sigh] Well, who must do the hard things? Those who believe they must!

Chilled tofu is probably not your first choice of foods. In fact, drawing from a quick poll of friends and fellow-workers provided info that it was no single persons first choice of foods! But it is (often) MY first choice and I hope to tell you why. I can particularly hear my sister Mary Lou’s voice in my head “TOFU…bleeech!” Well, I will make a deal with Moo and the rest of my readers. Make it through this one, and I promise to concoct one very rich and decadent recipe at some point in the future (…and yes, I will entertain suggestions!)

Ok. So tofu….now wait….giiiiiive it chance!….tofu has a number of things going for it. Shall I list them?

Healthy: Yes, tofu is so healthy, that it has been virtually a cliché connected with health since…well…forever! As tofu has a naturally neutral flavor on its own, we are always tempted to either fry tofu or add gravy (sometimes both) all of which reduce the natural health factor. Instead, I find a light sauce, spices or just tasty veggies add flavor to tofu without adding excess calories. My litmus test for a healthy food is any one that I can eat and immediately go on my 5 mile run. Raw tofu, fresh fruit, and a chilled salad are the only meals I know that I can easily do this.

Variety of Texture: Tofu comes in a many textures to appeal to individual tastes. I prefer a very firm texture, but if you like softer textures, you can go for a silken tofu which is very much like custard in texture. Every texture between firm and silken exists.

Speed of Preparation: Preparing raw tofu is a quick two-step process: wash tofu and put under a press for about 10 minutes to remove excess water. The only added time is limited only by the time needed to prepare the food served with the tofu.

Decorative: Raw tofu adds a white base that combines well with other bold colors to make a simple, but attractive hors d’oeuvre.

Versatility of Tastes: As tofu takes on the tastes of any food it is served with, that means you have practically an infinite variety of taste combinations.

I can hardly consider the meal I made above to be a “recipe” per se, it was so simple. I cleaned and pressed tofu and cut fairly large pieces. I grated a carrot, chopped a spring onion, and grated a small piece of ginger. The sauce is half a commercial “spicy, brown, bean sauce” and half shoyu. As I mentioned, the variety of things you may add is limitless. My other favorites: toasted sesame seeds; thinly sliced nori; steamed, drained, cold spinach; grated daikon; and hot sauce.

I believe the reason many people hate tofu is because they have never had a good brand. Sadly, the stuff they sell in super markets are the worst examples. The best you will find is the home-made kind found in a Chinatown kind of market. The next best you can buy is at a health-food store.

Chilled tofu is wonderful on a hot Summer day, delicious with green tea, beer, or sake.



  1. I love cold tofu! Especially with oshitashi (sp?) on a hot day. My favorite is silken – I love the smooth custard texture as opposed to the firm/extra firm.

  2. Oh, I eat chilled tofu a lot. I like tofu.

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