Tofu soup is any soup that uses tofu as an ingredient. Soy milk is pressed into curds to form tofu. By itself tofu is bland, but it easily takes on the flavors of other ingredients. Many soups can be made using tofu, including traditional Asian dishes and American staples such as chili.
There are three basic kinds of tofu: soft, also called silken, firm, and extra-firm. Silken tofu has a very high moisture content and a texture like that of thin custard. Firm tofu still has moisture, but is firmer than silken tofu, with a texture similar to firm custard. Extra-firm tofu has a somewhat rubbery texture, and is ideal for crumbling. The type used for tofu soup will depend on the recipe.
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Tofu soup can be made using tofu as the main ingredient, especially as an alternative to meat in vegetarian dishes. For these dishes, firm or extra-firm tofu is used. The tofu is frozen first so it will keep its texture during cooking. Since tofu absorbs other flavors easily, it goes well with all ingredients.
Miso soup is a Japanese dish made with a thick paste of fermented barley or soybeans, stock, and tofu. The stock used in traditional dishes is called dashi, made with kelp and fish. Vegetables and meats may be added as desired.
Hot and sour tofu soup is a traditional Chinese dish. Vinegar and hot sauces are added for the sour and hot elements. Vegetables used include onions and mushrooms, although others can be added according to personal preference. Silken tofu is most often used for this dish.
Korean tofu soup is a spicy dish made with kimchi, a pickled cabbage. Silken tofu is used in this recipe, along with pork and leeks. Vinegar, salt, and pepper are used as seasonings, although they might not be needed because kimchi is very spicy and salty.
In American soups such as chili or chicken noodle soup, tofu can be used as a meat substitute. These soups are especially popular for vegetarians and vegans, since tofu offers protein. Crumbled extra-firm tofu is good in chili. Extra-firm tofu is also used as a chicken substitute in chicken noodle soup.
Tofu is a healthy food that can be added to many soups. It can be used as a substitute for meat, or included in a meat dish. The plant protein in tofu is good for your health, and may be better than meat protein. It has very little fat, and no saturated fat. Tofu is often found in many Asian dishes, and is increasing in popularity in America and other countries.