What is Tofu? History, Modern Uses, & Recipes

Tofu is a delicious and classic ramen ingredient. We can’t help but love it for its delectable taste and undeniably unique texture! If you aren’t aware, tofu is also known as soybean curd, and due to its versatility, it’s become an extremely popular cooking ingredient — especially when it comes to Asian cuisine. Tofu originally comes from China, but it’s become a beloved staple ingredient in dishes from all over the world. This, of course, includes Mike’s Mighty Good Craft Ramen. If you’ve never used tofu as a ramen topping, you’re totally missing out! Add a little bit to your miso ramen or vegetarian ramen cup and get your flavor on!

With its mild flavor and fascinating ability to absorb the rich flavors in Mike’s Mighty Good Ramen broth, tofu is sure to add a delicious twist to the ramen you might be used to eating. For those who are vegetarian or vegan, tofu has become an especially hearty alternative to meat — which we love! Although chicken ramen and beef ramen are both undeniably delicious, not everyone eats meat, and tofu can be just as good. It brings a delightful balance of texture, taste, and protein to the table no matter how you decide to use it, so you should definitely give it a try sometime.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of tofu, including its history and modern uses. We’ll also be sharing a few great tofu ramen recipes with you, so stick around!

tofu ramen

The History of Tofu

Tofu, like many culinary legends, has plenty of captivating origin tales attached to it, each seemingly and constantly vying for recognition in the world of Asian cuisine. In one prominent historical narrative, ancient records revealed that tofu was conceived during the Han Dynasty by Liu An, the King of Huainan in the Anhui provinces. Interestingly, this story claims that Liu An — who was consumed by the pursuit of immortality — unwittingly stumbled upon the creation of tofu during his alchemical experiments.

Another theory suggests that the ancient Chinese ingeniously adapted the milk-curdling methods that were first employed by Mongolian tribes to coagulate soy milk, which thereby created tofu. Yet another story states that tofu was serendipitously discovered by an especially innovative chef. While each narrative has some plausibility to it, tofu's existence predates modern forms of documentation and historical recording, so it’s honestly remained a bit of a culinary enigma. We sure are glad it exists, though, so we can top our Mike’s ramen cups with it!

The Modern Uses of Tofu

As you may already know, tofu is incredibly versatile, which means it plays the starring role in a lot of modern culinary dishes (including, of course, ramen noodles). It may be mild in flavor, but it’s also super absorbent. This means that it’ll soak up the robust flavors of your ramen broth, and be extra succulent and juicy when you bite into it (especially in combination with the ramen noodles — can you imagine anything more delicious?). Let’s take a look at just a few of the many modern uses for tofu below as well as some reasons why tofu has become such a popular ingredient in ramen and other dishes.

What is Tofu? History, Modern Uses, & Recipes

It Can Be Used As a Source of Protein

For starters, tofu serves as a fantastic protein source — so if you like vegetarian ramen or vegan ramen, you certainly can’t go wrong with adding a few slices of tofu to your bowl! Once again, its mild taste will allow it to absorb the savory essence of the ramen broth, which should provide you with all of the comfort and nostalgia one typically looks for in a bowl of Mike’s Mighty Good Craft Ramen. Tofu's versatility shines through in lots of different styles of ramen. You can’t deny the comforting warmth of miso ramen or the fiery allure of spicy ramen topped with tofu slices. Just thinking about it is enough to make your mouth water!

You Can Use It To Add Texture

In addition to its impressive protein content, tofu will undeniably lend a delightfully unique texture to your next ramen cup. Imagine some silky soft tofu cubes gently floating in your vegetarian ramen broth, or some fried tofu slices adding that satisfying crunch to your miso or kimchi ramen. Of course, tofu's ability to absorb all sorts of flavors means it’ll complement your other ramen toppings seamlessly. Don’t forget to add some sriracha sauce to really pull the dish together! Have we made you audibly say “mmm” yet?

You Can Use It To Customize Any Ramen Cup

When it comes to preparing tofu for ramen, the possibilities are, quite honestly, endless. Some people choose to marinate and pan-fry tofu slices before adding them to their mighty Mike’s ramen. Others like to use lightly seasoned tofu cubes as a delightfully mild ramen topping. No matter what tickles your fancy, the really great thing about tofu is that there are endless ways to incorporate it into your cooking. It’s pretty remarkable that the texture and taste of tofu can be customized to suit specific preferences. If you tend to enjoy a more personalized ramen experience, adding a little bit of tofu is definitely the way to go!

Tofu Ramen Recipes You Should Try Out Today

If you’re not sure how to start when it comes to incorporating tofu into your ramen dishes, you’re certainly not alone. Let’s take a look at some of the best ramen recipes that you can easily incorporate tofu into below. Remember, making ramen is all about being creative and experimenting with new flavors. Don’t be afraid to go a little wild! No matter what, we’re pretty sure it’ll taste great, especially if you use Mike’s Mighty Good Craft Ramen. Let’s get on with the recipes, shall we?

Vegetarian Tan Tan Ramen

Vegetarian Tan Tan Ramen

This vegetarian Tan Tan Ramen is sure to captivate your taste buds from the very first slurp. Traditionally, Tan Tan noodles are made with ground pork, but in this recipe, you’ll be substituting the meat with tofu for a delightful, healthy twist.

For the perfect chewy texture, we recommend using Mike's Mighty Good Ramen noodles, which you can cook to perfection in just a few minutes. You’ll want to start by pan-searing several cubes of firm tofu until they turn a golden brown. Add water to the pan and bring it to a gentle simmer.

From there, incorporate your mushrooms and Mike's Mighty Good vegetable ramen noodles. Allow them to cook until the noodles are soft before you add your soy sauce, peanut butter, and Mike’s Mighty Good vegetable soup base. Once you’ve combined everything, let it cook for a few more minutes and then garnish it with some fresh cilantro!

Kimchi Miso Tofu Ramen

Image of Kimchi Miso Chicken Ramen

Topped with fresh kimchi and tender bok choy, this light and satisfying ramen bowl is both healthy and delicious. Kimchi Miso Ramen is typically made with chicken, but we’ll be substituting tofu for chicken for this recipe!

To get started, add your green onions and garlic to a pot with just a small amount of oil. Cook this mixture until it’s wonderfully fragrant, and then add water, gochugaru, and miso paste to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then introduce the tofu cubes (fried or soft — your choice!) and your Mike’s Mighty Good Kimchi Ramen noodles. 

This is also where you’ll want to add bok choy or any other veggies you desire. Cook until the noodles are soft, and garnish your ramen bowl with some delicious kimchi (or with whatever you’d like)! We’d recommend adding a bit of sriracha sauce, or a ramen egg (if you’re not vegan) to your bowl. Remember, you shouldn’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to Mike’s Mighty Good Ramen. Make sure to indulge in the rich absorption power of the tofu, and savor that flavor!

"Mike's Mighty Good has permanently changed my lunch game. Never knew an 'instant soup' could be so good."

Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant of the Stuff You Should Know Podcast