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Where can I find smoked tofu?

j
Jessca May 4, 2008 11:59 AM

I've never been able to find smoked tofu in Manhattan or Brooklyn. Where do you pick up yours?

Thanks!

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  1. d
    david sprague May 4, 2008 01:04 PM

    not sure about either of those boroughs, but it's fairly easy to find in queens. i usually go to pacific market (literally at the top of the steps exiting the E/F/G/R train at 74 n roosevelt.

    2 Replies
    1. re: david sprague
      MMRuth May 4, 2008 01:22 PM

      I bought in Chinatown at Kam Man in March.

      -----
      Kam Man
      200 Canal St, New York, NY 10013

      1. re: MMRuth
        j
        Jessca May 4, 2008 02:21 PM

        Thanks...you'd think it would easy enough to find, given that I see regular tofu everywhere.

    2. a
      Ann900 May 4, 2008 04:22 PM

      Hong Kong Supermarket sells several different smoked tofus. There are a number of Chinatown markets that sell it as, well.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Ann900
        j
        Jessca May 5, 2008 07:57 AM

        New question: someone told me smoked tofu isn't actually smoked, but just marinated in herbs and spices. Is this true??

        1. re: Jessca
          scoopG May 5, 2008 08:05 AM

          I think smoked tofu is actually smoked - that's what gives it the hard outside texture. Also when cut into thin strips in stir fry dishes, it holds up without breaking apart.

          Here's an old thread with one recipe I think for smoked tofu.

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/309446

          1. re: scoopG
            j
            Jessca May 5, 2008 11:10 AM

            Thanks! I'm making a recipe from Vegetarian Times for tofu kebabs in a peanut dipping sauce.

            1. re: scoopG
              Miss Needle May 5, 2008 11:36 AM

              Scoop, I've had the "smoked" tofu that's doesn't have any smoky flavor. It's plain white and they sell it side-by-side next to the soy flavored ones. Are you saying that those are smoked as well?

              1. re: Miss Needle
                scoopG May 5, 2008 12:45 PM

                Miss Needle - the kind of smoked tofu I am talking about is brown in color. I've seen it in half inch squares. The buffet places in Chinatown that use that kind of tofu cut it (julienne) and toss with red and green peppers and throw in some salted black beans.

                Jessca - if you can't get smoked tofu in Chinatown just use firm tofu. Take it out the package and wrap in paper towel and place something a bit heavier than the tofu on it to help squeeze the moisture out of it. Change the paper towel after a bit. When you are barely getting any more moisture out of the paper towel then cube it. Pan fry in some oil till crispy on all sides. It won't be smoked but this might do the trick for you.

                I have an in-house smoking recipe but haven't tried it in a long time!

                1. re: scoopG
                  Miss Needle May 5, 2008 12:52 PM

                  Scoop, the reason I asked you that question is because in a you said that the smoking gave it the hard texture. I've had tofu without the soy that has the same texture. So I'm kind of curious how they were able to achieve the texture -- is it a smokeless smoking technique or do they really press the hell out of the tofu?

                  1. re: Miss Needle
                    scoopG May 5, 2008 01:00 PM

                    Miss Needle - it could be both techniques then, although I am not sure how marinating in soy sauce would give tofu a hard texture.

                    The smoking technique is dry - a very basic one is to take the tofu (after much of the moisture has been removed) and cut into half inch squares. Years ago, in a different kitchen than what I have now I took a wok that was dry, and turned the gas on medium. Then I threw in several teaspoons of sugar and placed the sliced tofu or chicken on a wok metal insert and covered the wok. Eventually the carmelized sugar burns and you have smoke. Helps to have a great exhaust system!

                    1. re: scoopG
                      Miss Needle May 5, 2008 01:04 PM

                      Yeah, I agree that marinating the tofu in soy will probably make it more apt to break apart.

                      That's interesting about your smoking technique. Unfortunately, I live in an apartment building and I think my floor would probably complain. Otherwise I'd be right on it.

                  2. re: scoopG
                    j
                    Jessca May 5, 2008 02:11 PM

                    Thanks, Scoop. I really want that smoky taste, so I'm going to try to find it. Someone said I could use Liquid Smoke, but I find it has a chemical taste.

                    1. re: scoopG
                      designerboy01 May 13, 2008 12:21 AM

                      That tofu is pressed. If you interested in tofu, there is also a sweet one that is dried in strips and used for cooking. Its not sugary sweet, but its good if you are mincing stews. I used it with minced fish stew.

            2. h
              HLing May 5, 2008 06:34 PM

              It's interesting to hear about "smoked" tofu or even "baked" tofu. In Asian countries we call them Dou Gan, or dried bean curd. I'm pretty sure they are not smoked, or baked in the Asian countries, but maybe they are made thus when made by the western style vegetarian companies.

              Most of the time, I find the ones made in the western tradition too strangely chemical tasting...containing too much foreign substances.

              If you are interested in trying the Asian type of dried bean curd, go to Chinatown's grocery stores and look for this distributer called "Water Lillies Food Inc." that has a Brooklyn NY address, but whose products are made in Taiwan. They have various type of soybean curd. My sister's favorite is the thick squares of "Spiced JUmbo Thick Dry Tofu", which isn't really "dry", in fact, even though it's firm, it's also quite springy. My favorite is the "Su Chee (Dry Tofu)", the package contains 2 lobes of dark bean curds. This is even firmer than the "Spiced jumbo Thick dry tofu". The packaging has prominent pinkish color with some light green. You may find these flavors too subtle, just as I find the western style ones too synthetic, but it'd be an inexpensive investment, as the ones in Chinatwon are pretty reasonably priced.

              The May Wah vegetarian store on the corner of Centre and Hester (I think) has both of these in the refrigerator to the right of the cashier. Give it a try!

              4 Replies
              1. re: HLing
                l
                Lau May 5, 2008 06:41 PM

                i believe tung woo at 230 grand st has the tofu everyone is talking about. tung woo is a "store" but its almost like just a store front, they serve only tofu (do fu, dried do fu, dou jiang, dou hua etc etc)...i generally find their to fu to be of pretty good quality.

                1. re: Lau
                  h
                  HLing May 5, 2008 06:55 PM

                  i just thought to clarify, that the brand I mentioned can be found in other Chinese supermarkets, but that in May Wah it's limited and so probably easier to get.

                  I find some other brands in Chinese supermarkets uneven in quality. I've not had anything from tung woo that Lau mentioned, but I didn't like the soy products from that other dofu store, "Kuan Kee" (is it?) on Grand. There's something that taste like filler to me, now that I make my own dofu. In general I find the soy product made in Taiwan quite a bit finer and more refined, (not as coarse grained, if it can be described that way), and has more of a genuine soy taste that doesn't taste "burnt" as compared to the local (US) Chinese products. Again, it could just be personal preference.

                  1. re: HLing
                    l
                    Lau May 5, 2008 07:16 PM

                    yeah that place is across the street from tung woo and i dont really like that place either, their dou fu has some weird flavor to it that i found kind of gross

                    as ive said in the past the best dou fu product ive found is from that flower shop place in flushing although i dont believe they have straight dou fu or the dried dou fu everyone is talking about (just dou jiang and dou hua)

                    1. re: Lau
                      h
                      HLing May 5, 2008 08:48 PM

                      Yes, when I was still in Flushing I never pass up some tender Dou Hua (with a side of peanuts) and the special ginger syrup from "Soybean Chen" in Flushing. Dried bean curd would be so much more work for them, though, seeing that they are mainly a plant shop. Good to hear that they are still the best around.

              2. scoopG May 5, 2008 07:13 PM

                I forgot all about May Wah Healthy Vegetarian Food store at 213 Hester - they've told me before that most, if not all of their products come from Taiwan, China or even Japan. And most of their products are frozen. I buy their frozen been curd sheets or dou fu pi.

                1 Reply
                1. re: scoopG
                  h
                  HLing May 5, 2008 08:58 PM

                  Thanks for posting the address of May Wah. The bean curds from Taiwan are NOT frozen, otherwise the texture would become honey comb - like, not so desirable. Of their frozen stuff, I also like their bean curd sheets that are rolled up into a thick, beige pillow. I'm not sure if it's the dou fu pi that you're talking about. It might be called Dou Bao. Also I get the Taiwanese vegetarian intestine (made from wheat gluten) a lot even though you can find unfrozen ones made here. Again, there's something about the texture and the fineness of it that makes that tastier, more wholesome.

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