What exactly is dried bean curd and how do you use it? Find out here!
Bean curd is more commonly known as tofu. It is made from coagulated soy milk, which is then pressed to create curds. The curds are white blocks and can be found in different levels of softness including silken, soft, firm or extra firm.
Tofu can be found in several varieties and either dried or fresh.
Dried bean curd
Tofu skin is dried bean curd that is pressed into sheets. It is usually formed into sticks and sold in bags.
Before using dried bean curd, you need to rehydrate it. To do this, cover it in water and soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Then drain and cut into your chosen size and use like fresh tofu.
Varieties of fresh bean curd
Tofu noodles are cut into noodle shapes and are great served alongside pork and chicken.
Fried bean curds, also known as soy puffs, can be found in a variety of shapes. Essentially, these puffs are deep fried and pair beautifully with any pork belly dish.
A more unusual form of bean curd is red fermented bean curd which preserves the curd by using a mixture of red wine, fermented red rice and seasoning. This unique bean curd is ideal for use in stews and braised meat recipes as it adds a rich and deep flavor.
Bean curd is a great substitute for eggs and dairy and is a great source of protein. It contains all nine essential amino acids, so it is perfect for those with allergies or who avoid meat.
When cooking with fresh bean curd, or tofu, you can typically use it right out of the package. Typically you will need to press the tofu to dry it out. Place it on top of several sheets of paper towel and cover with a baking sheet, weighing it down with a cookbook and let it sit for a few minutes or a few hours, depending on how dry you would like it.
Once dried and depending upon the firmness of the tofu you have, you are able to cook it in all sorts of ways:
- Deep fried
- Used in soups
As bean curd is very absorbent, it pairs well with many marinades and sauces as it will soak up all of those wonderful flavors. If you have got unpressed and uncooked bean curd, it makes a fabulous addition to smoothies or cream based desserts.
You can keep unopened fresh bean curd in the fridge for a few weeks. Once opened, it should be kept in an airtight container with water. Swap the water every couple of days, which will allow the uncooked bean curd to last up to five days.
Any leftover cooked bean curd can be kept for up to three days in the fridge.
Bean curd can also be frozen - simply cut it into cubes and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze until solid and then transfer into an airtight container or sealed bag which can be kept for up to three months. Thaw your bean curd and drain any excess liquid off before cooking with it.
Dried bean curd does not need to be kept in the fridge, but should be stored in a cool, dry place where it will usually last for up to 3 months.
If you're looking for a simple tofu recipe to try, check out this easy Tofu Scramble.