Ingredient Watch:
Three Ways with Kori-Tofu

With traditional Japanese kori-tofu making its European debut earlier this month, we spotlight three innovative dish ideas for the sponge-like, freeze-dried tofu ingredient
Kori Tofu
Ingredient Watch: Kori-Tofu

What is Kori-Tofu, and why are we talking about it?

Kori-tofu (or koya-dofu) is, effectively, freeze-dried tofu. A traditional Japanese pantry staple with strong links with Shojin cuisine, legend has it that kori-tofu was ‘discovered’ by a Buddist monk around 800 years ago when he accidentally left tofu outside on a cold winter day.

Said to have a fluffy texture due to slow freezing processes used by manufacturers, kori-tofu was showcased in Europe for the first time earlier this month, during an event at the Netherlands’ “Food Valley” hub, with applications said to be broad and varied.

For example, kori-tofu, which is high in protein, could be used as part of gluten-free cake recipes or high protein cookies; can be mashed into a paste to spread on bread; sliced thinly and fried in oil to make fries; or used as part of salads.

As the plant-based market diversifies, reacting to increasing demand for new nutritional and functional options, coupled with broadening free-from horizons and the overarching healthy eating boom; it’s worth running the rule over emerging ingredients such as kori-tofu, especially considering it’s inherent versatility.
Ingredient Watch: Kori-Tofu

What are some Kori-Tofu dish examples?

Vegetarian Chirash

First up is a chirashi (which literally means 'scatted sushi') – a traditional style of Japanese sushi commonly served at parties. This rendition, by US-based vegan chef @kyotochef, contains dried shiitake, kikurage mushrooms and kori-tofu cooked in a shiitake dashi with soy and mirin, served on a bed of brown rice with sushi vinegar and sake.

Incidentally, earlier this week, @kyotochef showcased a Moringa Amazake Cake – with amazake very much on our radar as an ingredient to watch.


Next is an example of nimino, a Japanese simmered dish with a salty-sweet broth, made by French food writer and blogger, @lutsubo. A nimono generally consists of base ingredients simmered in shiru stock and seasoned with sake, soy sauce, and a small amount of sweetening (often sugar or mirin) until the shiru has been absorbed into the ingredients or evaporated.

@lutsubo used daikon, carrots and kori-tofu, with the latter able to easily absorb broth due to its spongy texture. Due to its mild flavour and spongy texture, it’s been used for centuries as part of soups and broths, which it soaks up, delivering added textures and a bursting sensation when bitten into.
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Natto Pizza with Kori-Tofu

Pizza dough made from kori-tofu – how’s that for innovative? Healthy eating blogger Misuzu’s recipe for this low-carb, gluten-free pizza starts with re-hydrating sliced kori-tofu in a seasoned broth, before squeezing out the liquid and frying them in butter, with the kori-tofu absorbing the lot.

She tops them with natto, another traditional Japanese food, this time made from whole, fermented soybeans. Mixed with soy sauce and egg yolk, the natto is then topped with cheese, with the slices then baked to produce what she says are plump and pizza bread-like. She finishes them with Japanese basil, sesame seeds and red pepper threads.
Kori-Tofu: Our Verdict
  • Kateline Porritt
    Head of Trends, Egg Soldiers
    "We’ve seen tofu take a few different evolutions in the last few years, and with growing adoption of Japanese cuisines and ingredients across the industry, the influence is palpable.

    "Tofu, in any form, is safest for now in dishes rooted in Asian cuisines, but the burgeoning appearance of more regional and diversity of dishes within these cuisines means an opportunity for chefs to be aware of them, become familiar and ultimately adopt the ingredients into their own cooking repertoire.

    "With a magnifying glass on the lengthy ingredients lists of alternative meats, this simple bean curd could garner even more favour."
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