Do You Want To Know What Does Tofu Taste Like?

Tofu or bean curd is an excellent source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. It can form part of many dishes, especially Asian ones. If you haven’t tried this healthy and unusual food, you’re probably wondering what it’s like and how to use it. What does tofu taste like?

Tofu is a bland, soft, gluten-free bean curd that tastes like feta or paneer cheese. Raw tofu is mild, creamy, and smooth, while cooked tofu takes on the flavors of the dish it’s in. Keep tofu refrigerated as it goes bad quickly, smelling sour and browning.

Tofu is a fantastic ingredient because it’s pretty cheap, a great source of protein, and very versatile. You can fry, bake, or eat it raw. It can form part of the main dish or a dessert. Let’s look at what tofu is, how it tastes, and how best to store it.

What Is Tofu?

Tofu is also called bean curd or soybean curd. Made from soybeans, tofu has a soft, smooth texture.

A very healthy food, tofu is rich in protein, calcium, and iron and low in fat and cholesterol.

You’ll find tofu in health stores and most supermarkets, sold in blocks, often in brine or water.

Tofu is a popular ingredient in vegan, vegetarian and Asian cuisine because it can take on many different flavors and be used in sweet and savory dishes.

How Is Tofu Made?

Tofu comes from the mature white soybean, not the bright green edamame pods.

Tofu is made by boiling and curdling soy milk with water, similar to how dairies make cheese.

The curds are then pressed to remove most of the water, forming the tofu into blocks.

How long the tofu gets pressed will determine the texture of the tofu.

The longer the pressing time, the more whey is squeezed out, and the firmer the tofu will be.

If you look in stores, you will find tofu ranging from silken to soft (with a lot of liquid) and firm to extra-firm (with less liquid).

Can You Eat Tofu Raw?

You can eat tofu as is, straight out of the package or tub, so long as you drain it. 

Tofu isn’t raw because the tofu-making process includes heating and pasteurizing.

Is Tofu Gluten Free?

Tofu is gluten-free in that the ingredients of tofu are all gluten-free, so plain tofu is gluten-free.

However, tofu manufacturers often add flavorings to tofu, which may contain gluten.

The most common seasonings are soy sauce, fish sauce, and rice wine, containing wheat.

Also, if you order tofu in a restaurant, it may have come into contact with products containing gluten.

What Does Tofu Taste Like?

Tofu does not have a strong flavor, and you would generally not eat it on its own.

This ingredient is best when part of a soup, sauce, or noodle dish.

What Does Raw Tofu Taste Like?

Tofu is not a raw ingredient, as it has already been heated during manufacture, like cheese.

Uncooked tofu, straight out of the carton or tub, tastes slightly sour and flavorless. 

The closest flavor is plain feta cheese, paneer, or soft white cheese, so vegans will use extra-firm tofu as a replacement for feta in a salad.

You can use raw tofu to make mayonnaise, dressing, or dips, primarily if you use ultra-soft, creamy silken tofu, which has the texture of yogurt.

Beat or blend silken tofu with maple syrup to make a vegan whipped cream, or add it to smoothies.

In China, uncooked silken tofu makes a tasty breakfast dish called douhua, where you top the tofu with soy sauce and sliced scallions.

What Does Cooked Tofu Taste Like?

Tofu comes into its own when you cook it – it absorbs the flavors of whatever you’re cooking and can add texture and nutrition to a meal.

Depending on how you cook it and the kind of tofu, this ingredient can be savory or sweet, crispy or creamy.

However, before you can cook tofu, you need to drain and press out the excess water so that the tofu can absorb flavors and crisp up when cooking.

Once drained, you can chop the tofu as needed and add it to your dish. 

Tofu suits most cooking methods – you can sear it, grill, fry, deep-fry, steam, stew, braise, bake, or roast tofu. Use tofu instead of meat, fish, eggs, or dairy. 

This versatile ingredient also goes with many other flavors, so choose bright spices, sauces, and marinades to get the best out of tofu’s blandness.

Fried tofu with sesame seeds and spices

What Does Dry/Five-spice Tofu Taste Like?

Dry tofu is pre-prepared, pre-seasoned tofu that doesn’t require much cooking.

This extra-firm tofu has a dense, almost rubbery texture, a deep brown color, and a spicy flavor.

Use dry tofu as the star of noodle dishes, curries, and soups.

What Does Smoked Tofu Taste Like?

Smoked tofu is pale, extra-firm tofu smoked with tea leaves. The texture is dry and dense, almost tough, with a light, smoky flavor. 

Snack on smoked tofu as is, or add it to a salad or sandwich – it’s the vegan equivalent of bacon.

What Does Fermented Tofu Taste Like?

Preserved tofu has been chopped into cubes and fermented in rice wine or brine. 

More like a pickle or condiment than a protein, fermented tofu has an earthy, tangy flavor.

Use fermented tofu sparingly because it is intensely flavored and will overwhelm a dish.

Some fermented tofu has other flavors added, like chili, which will influence the taste.

How Long Does Tofu Last?

Tofu goes bad as quickly as any dairy product or chicken does, so take care when storing and working with this product. 

How long your tofu will last will depend on how the packaging and whether you have opened it and cooked it.

  • If your tofu is in a shelf-safe or Tetra-Pak carton, you can store it in the pantry (or any cool, dark place) for up to three months. Once opened, refrigerate and use the tofu within three days.
  • If you bought your tofu from the refrigerated section of the store, keep it in the fridge. It should last for three days.
  • Unless you are using your tofu on the day you bought it, open it and discard the water. Pour in fresh water. Change the water every day. Your tofu will then last for five days to a week.
  • Freeze firm and extra-firm tofu for up to three months. It is best to chop your tofu into cubes, freeze it on a cookie sheet and then put the frozen tofu cubes in a sealed freezer bag. Defrost the tofu in the fridge overnight and use it within three days.
  • Leftover tofu will last for three days if you keep it in an airtight container in the fridge.

How To Tell If Tofu Is Bad

You will immediately tell if your tofu is bad because it will change color and start to smell.

Spoiled tofu will go brown or tan and develop pink or orange mold. The bland smell will change to a sour or rotten smell.

Discard any discolored or smelly tofu immediately, as eating it can make you very sick.

Conclusion

Tofu or soybean curd is a perfect source of protein and a very versatile ingredient.

Although it doesn’t have much flavor on its own, tofu absorbs flavor well and can add texture and substance to both sweet and savory dishes.

Take care to keep tofu in the fridge and use it within three days, as it spoils quickly.