Soft tofu, also known as silken tofu, is one of several types of tofu or bean curd. It has the most moisture content of all tofu varieties, as it is not drained after it has coagulated. This gives it a custard-like consistency, allowing it the versatility to be used as either a solid or a heavy liquid component in most recipes. Tofu itself goes by a variety of names, as different countries have assimilated this ingredient in their cuisines: Toufu in Japanese, Tokwa in Filipino and Hangul in Korean.
In addition to its consistency, soft tofu also has the advantage of having next to no taste. While this leads some to claim that tofu is bland, there is a hidden advantage of being able to use tofu with almost any set of flavorings. Variety of dishes ranging from appetizers to main courses can be created with this ingredient.
One of the easiest ways to enjoy soft tofu is straight out of the box, with a dash of soy sauce and some vegetables. Other popular recipes for use with soft tofu are Ma Po Tofu — soft tofu with pork, in a spicy bean-based sauce, steamed with mushrooms and ginger. It can also be used in a Korean stew called Soondubu Jjigae, a stew consisting of soft tofu, kimchi — Korean pickled vegetables, and fish.
The soft tofu’s consistency also makes it ideal to use in desserts. Options include using it in puddings, mousses, and even in baked goods such as cakes and pies. For people who are watching their health and weight, the tofu is also a very good substitution for dairy products such as creams and custard. Since it is a high-protein, gluten-free, and lactose-free food, soft tofu, alongside soy milk, is often used as a substitute for the dairy ingredients in most dishes, such as the dessert options above. This allows people with conditions such as lactose-intolerance to be able to enjoy similar versions of dishes they would otherwise be missing out on, with tofu usually being a healthier option as well.
Tofu is also generally one of the options vegans turn to, as none of the ingredients involved in its production come from animals. This makes it one of the few primary sources of protein available to strict vegans, alongside nuts, beans and other legumes. This, combined with the versatility of this type of tofu, is one of the reasons why it has become a commonly-eaten food.