Block Party

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Soft

You have to have a light touch to keep cubes of soft tofu from turning into crumbles. The tender bean curd is great for scrambles or as a substitute for ricotta cheese. Pureed, it has the consistency of sour cream and can be used to replace eggs in baked goods (three-fourths of a cup per egg).

Silken

A coagulant distinguishes this tofu from soft. With a custardlike, melt-in-your-mouth texture, silken tofu can add protein to smoothies and make creamy puddings and dips.

Extrafirm

This dense, sturdy block is the highest in protein, fat, and calcium per serving because it's had more moisture pressed out. It holds its shape when sliced or diced, so extrafirm is the best type of tofu to use for sauteeing, grilling, and baking.

Firm

Look no further for a nondairy cheese substitute. Firm tofu marinated in your favorite salad dressing makes a great sandwich or casserole filling. Cubes of firm tofu work well in stir-fries, too.

In Asian stir-fries, tofu soaks up gingery soy sauces and tames the heat of dried chilies.