Learn what egg tofu is and why you’ll love it. You’ll learn how to slice it, cook it, and where to find it in your grocery store. You will also learn how egg tofu differs from silken tofu and whether it is vegan.
What Is Egg Tofu?
Egg tofu is special tofu made from water, eggs, and soy milk. Egg tofu is also called tofu scallops because it is shaped like a scallop when sliced and laid flat, making it an appropriate vegetarian substitute for scallops.
Egg tofu typically comes in a plastic tube, which gives egg tofu its characteristic cylinder shape. It has a creamy yellow color that is brighter than the typical off-white brick tofu thanks to the egg yolks that egg tofu is made from. Egg tofu is highly prized because of its rich flavor thanks to the eggs, it needs less preparation than brick tofu (no pressing required), and it is sturdier than silken tofu.
RELATED: Learn more about different types of tofu you’ve never heard of.
What Egg Tofu Looks Like
How to Prep Egg Tofu
Egg tofu is typically sliced into coins or cut into cubes before cooking and serving. While egg tofu is not as fragile as silken tofu, you should be gentle with it or it may crack or fall apart.
To prepare egg tofu:
- Cut the plastic casing open along the dotted lines. If there are no dotted lines on your plastic tube, cut along the shortest side of the tube.
- Gently squeeze the closed end of the tube to push the egg tofu out of its case. Repeat for the other side of the tube.
- Slice or cube the tofu according to how you want to serve it. If you plan on slicing it, avoid slicing thinner than half an inch (just over 1 cm) or the tofu might be too thin and may fall apart when cooking.
NOTE: You do not need to press egg tofu the same way you do with brick tofu. Egg tofu will not weep like silken tofu and therefore does not need to be drained.
How to Eat Egg Tofu Raw
Although you can eat egg tofu raw, I highly recommend you pan fry egg tofu to bring out the rich egg flavors and add a beautiful golden hue to the egg tofu.
If you choose to eat it raw, it will taste like tofu with a tint of egg flavors. You can slice it up and enjoy it with soy sauce or chili sauce. Raw egg tofu will be harder to pick up with chopsticks which is another reason I recommend pan frying it. Or you can eat it with a spoon.
NOTE: Some cooks mentioned they are worried about raw egg tofu because it might have raw eggs. I reached out to Sunrise-Soya, which manufacturers the Mandarin Egg Tofu that I see most commonly in North America, to check whether the egg tofu is OK to eat raw. They wrote back: “All our tofu products, including Mandarin Egg Tofu, undergo pasteurisation which should kill most of harmful pathogens that can cause illness. However, we recommend consumers to heat up or “cook” the product to minimise the chance of getting sick.”
How to Cook Egg Tofu
Egg tofu tastes rich and fragrant like scrambled eggs when pan fried. It is less fragrant when boiled in soup or steamed but it has a silky soft texture that is tender and similar to silken tofu.
My preferred way to enjoy egg tofu is sliced and pan fried in a tablespoon of oil. Fry the egg tofu until each side is golden brown about 2 to 4 minutes on medium heat. It will splatter towards the end as the egg tofu slices become golden so keep an eye on the pan. You can avoid getting oil splatters by partially covering your pan with a lid. However, don’t completely cover the pan while frying the egg tofu because you still want the edges to get crispy.
You can put slices or cubes of egg tofu into your vegetable or noodle soup. Add it into your broth and boil for 2 minutes before serving.
You can also braise egg tofu along with eggplant, cabbage, or kale in vegetable broth for a hearty winter meal.
Egg Tofu Works Well With…
- Soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- Chili sauce
- Green onions
- Eggplant (braised)
- Cabbage (braised)
- Kale (braised)
- Zucchini (braised or pan fried)
- Miso soup
- Noodle soup
Recipes With Egg Tofu
How to Substitute Egg Tofu
If your recipe calls for pan-frying or stir-frying egg tofu, you can use brick tofu or five-spiced dry tofu instead of egg tofu. If your recipe uses egg tofu for boiling with soups or steaming, you can use silken tofu instead.
Egg Tofu vs. Silken Tofu
Egg tofu is different from silken tofu because egg tofu is made from eggs and soy milk, which means it is sturdier than silken tofu. It is possible to slice egg tofu without it breaking whereas silken tofu is much more fragile and falls apart easily when you remove it from its packaging.
Another big difference is that egg tofu is not vegan because it has eggs whereas silken tofu is typically vegan.
Chinese Egg Tofu vs. Japanese-Style Egg Tofu
The egg tofu mentioned in this article is the Chinese style of egg tofu. It is also commonly consumed in Hong Kong and Taiwanese cuisine. I’ve even seen this tube-shaped egg tofu sold in a Thai grocery store.
There is Japanese-style egg tofu that is different from this tube-shaped tofu made with eggs. The Japanese-style tofu is steamed egg that does not have soy in it but it is called “tofu” because it resembles the shape and texture of silken tofu when it is served. There is an equivalent Chinese dish of steamed egg that is similar. This is a very different dish compared to the tubular egg tofu mentioned in this article.
Where to Buy Egg Tofu
Luckily, egg tofu is not seasonal. You should be able to find it in most Asian grocery stores in the refrigerated tofu section that is typically next to the fresh produce. Look for the tubs of brick tofu and you’re likely to find egg tofu in a tube next to the other special varieties of tofu.
So far, I’ve only seen the Mandarin brand of egg tofu made by the Canadian company Sunrise-Soya in Asian grocery stores. Any brand will suffice since there is not much variation in egg tofu.
How to Store Egg Tofu
Store raw egg tofu in a container with water and use it within 2 days. You will want to drain the water very well before pan frying the egg tofu to avoid oil splatters.
Cooked egg tofu can last up to 3 days if refrigerated. Try to eat it as soon as possible because it’s delicious freshly pan fried.
FAQ About Egg Tofu
Can You Make Egg Tofu?
Yes, you can make egg tofu at home by mixing water, beaten whole eggs, and soy milk and steaming the mixture. However, it is pretty inexpensive to buy at the Asian store if you live within a reasonable distance of one. You may want to try it a few times to determine whether you like it before making it at home.
Is Egg Tofu Vegan?
No, egg tofu is not vegan because it has eggs in it. It is important not to confuse egg tofu with vegan egg tofu scrambles where you substitute tofu for the egg in a scramble. They are two different concepts. Egg tofu is vegetarian if you consume eggs in a vegetarian diet.