One of the most popular foods in Japan, Tofu has been with us for some time. Originally from China, it is said to have been brought to Japan in the 8th Century by the Buddhist priests, but it was only in the 18th century during the Edo period that it has become an every day dish.
Today, in your local supermarket, you can find various types of Tofu, two main kinds being Kinugoshi (silken or soft) and Momen (firm or regular). Kinugoshi Tofu is a soft tofu used in salads by dicing it or as a sauce by blending it with other ingredients. The most popular and simple way of eating a Kinugoshi tofu is a Hiyayakko, made by just cutting it and topping it with whatever you like. You will see a typical Hiyayakko in an Izakaya (Japanese Pubs) topped with a grated ginger, chopped green onions and soy sauce.
The other kind, Momen tofu, has a firmer texture, usually, pressed to drain excess water then used in stir fries and tofu bakes as it will retain its shape better.
The difference in texture comes from the manufacturing method and this results in the difference in nutritional value. In general, Tofu is known to be an excellent source of protein and calcium containing zero cholesterol. But the nutritional values differ between the two kinds of Tofu. Momen tofu contains 3 times more calcium, 20 ~30% more protein and iron than Kinugoshi. On the other side, Kinugoshi contains more vitamin B and Potassium than Momen.
My Tofu Class will be using various kinds of Tofu as well as soy bean products to familiarize you with handling tofu. Tofu eaten by itself is quite dull, but if you combine it with other ingredients it will make a satisfying meal full of nutrition yet with low calories.
Hope to see you in my kitchen!
I'm Miyuki and I teach Japanese Home cooking at my home in Tokyo.