atsu-age = atsuage = nama-age Notes: This is a cake of pressed tofu that has been deep-fat fried, giving it a crisp and meaty exterior and a soft interior. The Japanese like to cut it into cubes and use it in stir-fries and soups. Before using, you should blanch and drain it, then prick it with a toothpick so that it will better absorb other flavors. Atsu-age is widely available in Asian markets. Substitutes: abura-age OR deep-fried tofu OR pressed tofu
awase miso Notes: This is a fairly mild blend of red and white miso that’s often used for vegetable soups. Substitutes: equal parts red miso and white miso
barley miso = mugi miso Notes: Made from barley, it’s reddish-brown in color and a bit sweeter than other dark misos. Substitutes: awase miso OR red miso
bean paste This name is used for both bean sauce and miso.
deep-fried tofu = deep-fat fried tofu = fried bean curd Notes: Frying tofu makes it a chewier and tastier. Both the Japanese and Chinese have their own ready-made versions of deep-fried tofu, and you can find them in cellophane bags and cans in Asian markets. You can also make deep-fried tofu yourself by frying thin slabs of firm tofu in hot oil.
extra-firm tofu Notes: This isn’t as moist as firm tofu, so it holds its shape better and absorb more flavors. Store tofu in the refrigerator, changing the water daily, and use it within a week. Freezing it will make it chewier and give it a meatier texture. Look for cakes of it in plastic tubs in the refrigerated sections of supermarkets and health food stores. Substitutes: firm tofu (Before using, wrap it in cheesecloth and put a weight on it to press out some of the liquid) OR pressed tofu OR atsuage
fermented bean curd = fermented bean cake = preserved bean curd = wet bean curd = bean cheese = fu yu = foo yi = foo yu Notes: This looks innocent enough, like cubes of tofu immersed in a broth, but it has a very pungent aroma and strong, cheesy flavor. It comes in two colors. The white version is often served with rice or used to flavor soups and vegetable dishes, while the red often accompanies meats. Look for it in jars or crocks in Asian markets. Store it in the refrigerator after you’ve opened it, keeping the cubes immersed in liquid or oil to prevent them from drying out and discoloring.
firm tofu Notes: Choose this style of tofu if you want to cut it into cubes for stir-frying or crumble it into salads. Rinse and drain the tofu before you use it. Tofu will absorb more flavors and hold its shape better if you press out some of the water before marinating or cooking it. To do so, place the tofu on several layers of paper towels or cheesecloth, cover it with plastic wrap, and put something heavy on it. Do this for at least an hour, or put the whole assembly in a pan and set it in the refrigerator overnight. Store tofu in the refrigerator, changing the water daily, and use it within a week. Freezing firm tofu will make it chewier and give it a meatier texture. Look for cakes of it in plastic tubs in the refrigerated sections of supermarkets and health food stores. Substitutes: extra-firm tofu OR regular tofu OR pressed tofu OR atsu-age OR paneer OR meat (in stir fries) OR feta cheese (in salads)
hatcho miso = hat-cho miso = mame miso = mamemiso = dark miso Pronunciation: HOT-choh MEE-soh Notes: This is a very strong, salty version of miso that’s made with soybeans and aged for up to three years. It’s reddish-brown, somewhat chunky, and often used to flavor hearty soups. Substitutes: red miso (made from barley instead of soybeans, not as pungent)
mellow white miso
natto = nato = nattou = fermented soy cheese Notes: Made with fermented soybeans, natto is pungent, sticky, and highly nutritious. The Japanese like to serve it on rice or put it in sushi or miso soups. It’s available in Japanese markets or health food stores either frozen, freeze-dried, or fresh in straw bundles.
okara = unohana = kirazu Pronunciation: oh-KAH-rah Notes: This is the ivory pulp that’s left over after the soy milk is squeezed from soybeans. It’s moist and crumbly, full of protein and fiber, and about as flavorful as a wad of paper towels. Look for it in the produce section of Japanese markets. Substitutes: tofu (First reduce the moisture content by draining it in a colander overnight, with a weight pressing down on it.)
pressed tofu = nigari tofu = dow fu kon Notes: With much of the moisture pressed out of it, this kind of tofu holds it shape and absorbs marinades better than firm tofu. It’s the best choice for grilling. Substitutes: extra-firm tofu (Wrap it in cheesecloth and place weights on it to press some of the moisture out before using.) OR atsu-age
regular tofu = medium tofu Notes: This is halfway between the custard-like consistency of silken tofu and the denser texture of firm tofu. It’s a good choice if you want to scramble it like eggs, or use it in place of ricotta cheese in a casserole. Store tofu in the refrigerator, changing the water daily, and use it within a week. Freezing firm tofu will make it chewier and give it a meatier texture. Look for cakes of it in plastic tubs in the refrigerated sections of supermarkets and health food stores. Substitutes: firm tofu OR soft tofu
silken tofu = kinu-goshi Notes: This Japanese tofu is soft and creamy and it’s the preferred tofu for shakes, dips, custards, puddings, and dressings. It’s available either fresh in tubs or in aseptic packages that don’t need refrigeration. When working with silken tofu, it’s a good idea to make a dish ahead of time so as to allow the tofu to absorb other flavors. Don’t freeze it. Substitutes: soft tofu (This is firmer and sweeter than silken tofu.) OR sour cream (in dressings, dips, or sauces) OR mayonnaise (in dressings, dips, or sauces) OR yogurt (in smoothies)
soft tofu = sui-doufu Notes: This is the Chinese version of Japan’s silken tofu. Like silken tofu, it’s good for making shakes, dips, custards, puddings, and dressings. Look for plastic tubs with cakes of tofu in the refrigerated sections of supermarkets and health food stores. Don’t freeze this kind of tofu. Substitutes: silken tofu (This has a smoother consistency and isn’t as sweet as soft tofu.) OR sour cream (in dressings, dips, or sauces) OR mayonnaise (in dressings, dips, or sauces) OR yogurt (in smoothies)
soy cheese Notes: Made from soy milk, soy cheese is a boon to those who eschew dairy products. There are many varieties, including those which mimic cheddar, Parmesan, mozzarella, jack, and Swiss. Most brands have a mild, ho-hum flavor and a dry texture. Except for the low-fat varieties, most of them melt fairly well. Substitutes: cheese OR nutritional yeast
soy mayonnaise = soya mayonnaise = tofu mayonnaise Notes: This is made from soy milk, and it’s a very convincing substitute for those who wish to avoid egg-based mayonnaise. Nayonaise is a well-respected brand. Substitutes: mayonnaise OR hummus OR tofu sour cream
soy yogurt Notes: This is made from soy milk, and it’s a good alternative for those who wish to avoid dairy products. Substitutes: yogurt OR tofu sour cream
soybean paper = nama nori san Notes: These colorful sheets can be used to wrap sushi. Look for them in Asian markets.
soynuts = soy nuts = roasted soybeans Notes: These are roasted soybeans that you eat like peanuts. They’re about the shape of corn kernels, and sometimes coated with flavorings. Baked soynuts are lower in fat than fried. To make your own: Soak dried whole soybeans overnight, then rinse and drain. Season the beans if you like, then bake them in a 350° oven, stirring occasionally, until they’re light brown, about an hour. Alternatively, fry them in oil until they’re light brown, about ten minutes.
soynut butter = soy nut butter Notes: This peanut butter substitute is made from roasted soynuts. It’s got a bit less fat than peanut butter, and much less flavor. Substitutes: peanut butter
sweet white miso
tempeh = tempe Pronunciation: TEM-pay OR tem-PAY Notes: This Indonesian meat substitute is made from soybeans and other grains that have been injected with a mold and allowed to ferment. It’s rich in protein and fiber and has a chewy texture and salty, nutty flavor. Before using it, steam or simmer it for about twenty minutes. Then use it just like tofu or meat–either by marinating it and grilling or by crumbling it into pieces and frying them. Look for tempeh among the frozen foods in supermarkets or in health food stores. It will keep in the freezer for a few months, or in the refrigerator for about a week. Substitutes: tofu (This isn’t as nutritious, chewy, or flavorful as tempeh) OR hamburger OR TVP OR seitan
textured soy protein = texturized soy protein = TSP = textured vegetable protein = texturized vegetable protein = TVP = plant protein = vegetable protein = protein crumbles Notes: This is a healthy ground meat substitute made from defatted soy flour. It comes as dried or frozen flakes, granules, or chunks, and it has a chewy, meaty texture when it’s cooked. The flavor’s a bit bland, so it works best in well-seasoned dishes like chili and sloppy joes. Some brands are beef or chicken-flavored. Look for it in health food stores. Substitutes: tempeh OR firm tofu (Cut it into slabs and then freeze and thaw them to give the tofu a chewier texture. Alternatively, crumble the tofu into small pieces and bake it until it’s dry.) OR seitan OR hamburger
textured vegetable protein
tofu = bean curd = soybean curd = doufu = soya cheese Notes: Tofu is cheap, high in protein, low in fat, and very versatile. You can eat it raw or cooked, but it’s bland by itself and tastes best if it’s allowed to absorb other flavors. There are several varieties of raw tofu, each with different moisture contents. Silken and soft tofu are relatively moist, and best suited for making shakes, dips, and dressings. Regular tofu has some of the moisture drained away, and it’s best for scrambling or using like cheese in casseroles. Firm, extra-firm, and pressed tofus are even drier, so they absorb other flavors better and hold their shape in stir-fries and on the grill. Tofu is also available smoked, pickled, flavored, baked, and deep-fat fried. Substitutes: tempeh OR seitan OR TVP OR chicken
tofu sour cream = soy sour cream Notes: This made with tofu, and it’s lower in fat and more nutritious than ordinary sour cream. Look for it in health food stores. Substitutes: soy yogurt OR soy mayonnaise
yellow miso = shinshu miso Notes: This golden yellow miso is made of rice and aged briefly. It’s salty but mild and quite versatile. It’s a good choice if you only want to store one tub of miso in your refrigerator. Substitutes: white miso OR vegetable bouillon cube (1 tablespoon yellow miso = 1 vegetable bouillon cube)
yuba = uba = bean curd skins = soy milk skins = bean curd sheets Notes: This is the sweet, protein-rich skin that forms on warm soymilk as it cools. Japanese and Chinese cooks like to add it to soups or use it as wrappers, and when it’s deep-fat fried, it makes a fairly realistic “skin” for a mock holiday turkey. You can buy very thin fresh sheets of it (called nama yuba) in Kyoto, Japan, and thicker round sheets that look like fruit leather in some Chinese markets. Elsewhere, you’ll have to get it dried or frozen. Dried yuba comes as sheets, rolls, knots, and many other forms. It needs to be reconstituted with water before you can use it, unless you’re planning to add it to a soup. Substitutes: bean stick
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