There are several types of tofu on the market today. This covers the popular kinds, that are sold mainly in Oriental foodstores.
Please note that this does not cover those that are sold in “health food” or “speciality” stores. It is typical that those sold in these types of stores are firmer and drier than Japanese style tofu, almost resembling the consistency of cheese. It is also less refined in texture and appearance. We generally dislike these kind, as they seem to be more for the North American, and dare we say vegetarian, palate. Plus, they tend to be way more expensive.
Firm tofu is best used for dishes that require denser tofu. These include those dishes that are stir fried, as they will maintain their shape. You will find this type to be more nutritionally packed with calcium and protein, as it contains less water.
Soft tofu is easily broken up. It can be used for dishes that require the tofu to be mashed, such as a substitute for meat in vegetarian meat patties/hamburgers. However, it is also considered versatile, as it can be used in stir fries if care is taken while cooking.
We find silken tofu to be the most appealing in texture and consistency. Though it does not withstand cooking as much as Firm Tofu, it is great in miso soup. It is also great to eat as Hiyayakko in the summer (chilled tofu topped most often with sliced green onion, bonito fish flakes, and a bit of grated ginger. A dash of soy sauce adds flavour and saltiness).