The Japan Tofu Association is Japan's representative body of all domestic tofu producers.
Are you under the misconception that silken (kinugoshi) tofu production involves straining through silk and cotton (momen) tofu production involves straining through cotton?
The truth is that the names “Silken” and “Cotton” were adopted to reflect the difference in the feel of the texture on the tongue. The difference arises from differences in production techniques. So, what are the actual processes?
“Cotton” and “Silken” tofu production processes
For cotton (momen) tofu, coagulant is added to soy milk and once the mixture has set, the tofu is broken down and pressed to remove excess water before re-setting.
The feel of the texture on the tongue is not the only difference between the two; there are also differences in nutritional content.
However, some B vitamins and potassium is lost when the water is pressed out. Consequently, vitamin B and potassium content is higher in silken (kinugoshi) tofu.
These two tofu types, cotton and silken, give breadth to tofu cuisine. Due to its firmness, cotton (momen) tofu is ideal for grilling, pan frying, simmering, or deep frying.
On the other hand, when you want to enjoy the texture of the tofu itself in dishes like “hiya-yakko” (cold tofu with a simple garnish and soy sauce) or salads, silken (kinugoshi) tofu is considered better. However, there are those who prefer cotton (momen) tofu for hiya-yakko. The choice between two types depending on preference may be part of the appeal of tofu.
Soft tofu like silken (kinugoshi) tofu is said to have been created in the mid-Edo period, and production methods were continuously adapted to achieve this. The history of tofu has always included a quest for softer tofu with a better feel of the texture for the tongue.