There are many types of tofu, but the two most common types are kinu or kinugoshi (きぬ/絹ごし) and momen (もめん/木綿). Kinu literally means silk whereas momen means cotton. In English you may come across kinu tofu being referred to as silken or soft tofu and momen tofu being referred to as firm or hard tofu.
While texture is the most notable difference between kinu and momen tofu, there are also differences in how they are made and how much nutritional value they have.
How Kinu And Momen Tofu Are Made
Kinu Tofu (Silken Tofu)
Kinu tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and allowing it to solidify without curdling or adding weight to it, thus allowing it to retain water and creating a silky and smooth texture.
Kinu tofu generally contains more potassium, Vitamin B1 and B2 and has less calories than momen tofu.
Momen Tofu (Firm Tofu)
Momen fofu is also made by coagulating soy milk and allowing it to solidify, however a weight and cloth is put atop the solidified coagulated mixture to strain the water out. This creates a grim, hard texture. When you buy momen tofu, you may notice a slight unevenness and pattern imprint from the cloth that was used in making the tofu.
Momen tofu generally contains more protein, calcium and iron than kinu tofu.
How to use Kinu and Momen Tofu
Cooking method: Use as is or chilled.
Cooking use: In salads, desserts, soups (e.g. miso soup) and smoothies
Recipe: Chili Oil Tofu Donburi
Cooking method: Best for baking, frying, simmering or deep frying.
Cooking use : In soups, stews (e.g. sukiyaki, nabe), stir fries, vegan substitutes (e.g. tofu steaks)
Recipe: Sesame Tofu Poke Bowl, Tofu Steaks with Garlic Butter Soy Sauce, Teriyaki Tofu Udon in a Chili Peanut Soup
About the author:
Hi I'm Anna, currently a 5th year JET (from Australia) working in Himeji. I love exploring Japan and finding new things to experience and try, particularly sweets!
Kokoro Care Packages
April 18, 2022
Thank you for your question Ted! The custard tofu pack is likely made from kinu (silken) tofu but we would note that this likely contains some sweetener such as sugar so may not be appropriate in all recipes.