Tofu, a soft block made from soy beans

Tofu looks like a huge piece of cheese but it’s quite different. It is a soft block made from soy beans.

Tofu originated in China and was already eaten in Japan in the 12th century. Tofu spread in Japan 300 years ago, and at that time it was a food eaten by both the upper class and the common people.

As it is rich in vegetable protein, it is also popular in Europe and Americas as a healthy food.

What is Tofu and is it okay for me to eat it?

Materials of Tofu

Soy beans, bittern

Gluten-free Low-gluten Wheat-free Low FODMAPs High FODMAPs
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There are various types of tofu, and many dishes use tofu

Tofu is a soft block made from soy beans. It’s made by simply adding bittern to soy milk and letting it harden. Bittern may be an unfamiliar material. Bittern is a bitter liquid that remains after crystallizing sodium chloride (salt) from seawater and removing it, and is mainly composed of magnesium chloride and calcium chloride.

Tofu is a complete vegetable food as it is made entirely from soybeans and bittern. There are various types of tofu, from soft to hard. In Japan, there are many dishes using tofu.

The main types of tofu are as follows

Momen tofu

It is a slightly hard tofu. 300 years ago, this tofu was the mainstream. When hardening tofu, spread a cotton cloth on a wooden mold, then pour a liquid mixed with soy milk and bittern and compress it. Therefore, the feature is that the surface of the tofu has a cotton texture. It is suitable for cooking tofu that is boiled and eaten.

Kinugoshi tofu

It is a slightly soft tofu. It is made by using more condensed soy milk than Momen tofu, and bittern, and hardening it as it is. Since it has more water than Momen tofu, water-soluble vitamins contained in soybeans remain. It is often eaten as it is or used as an ingredient in miso soup.


Dried tofu. Since the 13th century, it is softened by adding water or soup stock before cooking. In the old days, it was made by placing tofu outdoors in winter and repeatedly freezing and drying it. Therefore, the nutrients of tofu are condensed.

Here are some tofu dishes


Raw Kinugoshi tofu. Place ginger, green onions, dried bonito flakes, etc., and sprinkle with soy sauce to eat.


It is a dish in which tofu is boiled in hot water containing kelp and then eaten with Japanese style sauce. This sauce is often Ponzu sauce, and the toppings are accompanied by green onions, Yuzu, and dried bonito flakes.

Agedashi tofu

It is made by adding potato starch or wheat flour to the surface of tofu and deep-fried in vegetable oil. Eat with hot soup. Momen tofu is preferable.

Typical processed tofu products as follows


Deep-fried sliced ​​tofu. We can use it as a soup ingredient, or cut it in half and stuff rice in a bag to make Inari-zushi.


Deep-fried thickly sliced ​​tofu. Only the surface is cooked, so we can enjoy the aroma and smoothness of the raw tofu inside. It is eaten as it is or used for stewed dishes.

Try to eat Tofu!

How much ?

$ 0.5 – 5 for 1 pack

Where can I meet Tofu?

Tofu can be purchased at any food supermarkets and convenience stores. Also, tofu is used in various dishes, so there are many opportunities to eat it in Japan. Yudofu, Agedashi-tofu, and simmered dishes made with Atsuage can be eaten at restaurants that serve Japanese food or at Izakaya.

Precautions when eating Tofu

Tofu is a vegetable food and gluten-free because it is made only from soybeans and bittern. Just be aware of other ingredients and seasonings used in tofu-based dishes.

Japanese writer’s comment for Yuba

Yuba is different from tofu, but it is made from soybeans. Yuba is a thin film that stretches on the surface when soymilk is heated. The only ingredient is soybeans. It is often eaten with soy sauce like sashimi of fish. It has been eaten as a vegetarian dish in Buddhist temples for 1200 years. Yuba, like tofu, comes from China. Initially, it was often eaten in Kyoto, so it is still famous as a local dish of Kyoto.

The difference from tofu is that yuba is hardened thinly with heat without using bittern. Since both tofu and yuba are made from soy milk, tofu specialty stores often offer yuba, which is closely related.