Kitchen & Pantry

Deciphering tofu labels: Kinugoshi and Momen

For the longest time, Masoya was my preferred brand of tofu. If it wasn’t in stock when I went grocery shopping, I wouldn’t buy tofu at all. Then, Masoya became harder and harder to find in the grocery until, finally, I decided to try another brand. I went through all the available brands and chose what appeared to be the cleanest, the smoothest and the freshest.

Still, it wasn’t an easy decision. I couldn’t make out the brand which was in Japanese characters. The labels were different too. I had been used to seeing “firm” and “silken” tofu and I wasn’t sure what kinugoshi and momen meant. But I had been hankering for tofu so I bought two packs of kinugoshi tofu and a pack of momen tofu.

When I got home, I started searching the web for information.

Kinugoshi is silken tofu.

Momen is “cotton” tofu which is firmer than kinugoshi but not as hard as firm tofu.

A tofu that is somewhere between silken and firm is new to me. Interesting too why it is referred to as “cotton.” From Japan Tofu Association:

Soybeans are soaked in water and softened, and then further water is added while the soybeans are milled to produce a raw soybean soup called “Go”. Tofu is produced by straining this “Go” to make soy milk, into which a coagulant (bittern, etc.) is mixed. This same principle applies in the production of both cotton and silken tofu.

In cotton (momen) tofu production, bittern is added to the soy milk, and after the mixture has set to a certain extent, it is poured into boxes lined with cotton cloth with holes in three faces. This is then overlaid with more cotton cloth. Once the soy milk is transferred, weights are applied to press out excess water as the mix solidifies. The imprint on the tofu left by the cotton cloth lining is a characteristic of cotton (momen) tofu.

I haven’t cooked the momen tofu yet. I did, however, cooked one pack of kinugoshi for lunch.

In an earlier post, I wrote about how I had always failed in frying silken tofu. Well, that is now a thing of the past.

This brand of silken tofu with the indecipherable Japanese characters is a bit firmer than the Masoya silken tofu, it is easier to handle and transfer from the cutting board to the hot oil in the wok. Beautiful texture and a joy to cook! Coming up, the recipe for the dish where the fried kinugoshi went.

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