Quick Answer: If you're going to be making soup then it's best to go with medium, firm or extra firm tofu. You can really use any of the three, but silken tofu will fall apart much easier. Just remember that the more firm it is the better it will hold up through cooking and stirring.
But before you start cooking, be sure to have a look at these few extra tips and people have...
Do You Cook Tofu Before Putting it in Soup?
You don't necessarily have to cook tofu before putting it in soup, but it can be a good way to modify the texture.
To speed up the cooking process, consider getting a tofu press to remove the water from the original packaging which will make baking, frying or deep frying much easier.
If you put tofu in a soup raw, it will always have a soft texture. Because the tofu never hardens from cooking off the water, it will have a very similar texture to if you were to just eat it right out of the package. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but just a personal preference. If you've ever had tofu in miso soup, then you've had it prepared this way.
But you can cook tofu before putting it in soup. Here are 3 options that will change the texture...
- Baking - By baking out some of the water the tofu will begin to harden and get crispy. When you put it in a soup this way, it will get a little more soggy, but also maintain a chewy texture that's different than if you do it raw.
- Pan frying - Similar to baking, pan frying your tofu can get it a nice sear and chewier texture that will add mouthfeel and flavor to the soup.
- Deep frying - Of course, everything tastes best deep fried and tofu is no exception. Although not the healthiest option, it will add a rich and crispy element to the soup. To maintain the most texture, throw the crispy fried tofu in the soup at the end when the broth and other soup components are done cooking.
Can You Freeze Tofu in Soup?
If you're going to be freezing your soup anyway, there's no reason why you cant freeze the tofu with it. Normally the water will drain from frozen tofu as you thaw it. But if you freeze it in a soup, that won't happen. When you reheat the soup, then the tofu is still going to be surrounded by liquid, so it will be pretty much the same as before it was frozen.
Types of Soup You Can Make with Tofu
Most people are familiar with miso soup, but there are plenty of other soups that tofu compliments really well. Here's a list of other things you can look into...
- Tofu noodle soup
- Coconut lime tofu soup
- Carrot ginger soup
- Clear soup with bok choy
- Thai or Indian curries
Tofu offers so many different texture options just waiting to be explored. A decade ago, you'd be hard pressed to find tofu in the supermarket and now you can find it almost anywhere, including the big retailers like Walmart and Target.
And if you're hesitant about eating tofu, just know that it's enjoyed by some of the longest living populations on earth including the Okinawans. It's a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians that has a wide range of culinary applications.