How to Reconstitute Koya-tofu

Koya-tofu is a freeze-dried tofu. It is also called koori-tofu or shimi-tofu, depending on the region. When you reconstitute it, it acquires a sponge-like texture. Enjoy its distinctive texture!

How to Reconstitute Koya-tofu
Photographed by Takeshi Noguchi

Recipe by
Eiko Oba


Beans & Tofu



  • As desired koya-tofu

    Freeze-dried tofu



Place the koya-tofu in a large tray or shallow pan and cover with water heated to about 50-60°C. This is the temperature at which tiny bubbles start rising from the bottom.


Cover the koya-tofu with a light cutting board, wooden lid or plate to keep it under water. Soak for 20-30 minutes until the water is cold.


By this time, the koya-tofu will have absorbed the water and become slightly larger.


The color will have turned to a milky-white. Each block will be 3-4 times heavier and have a sponge-like texture.


Put the blocks in a bowl filled with water and wash by squeezing. Change the water in the bowl and repeat until the water from the tofu no longer looks milky.


Remove and make a stack of 2 or 3. Squeeze the stack with both hands to drain. This will keep the tofu from becoming soggy, and will also help it absorb seasoning and soup.


Cutting into quarters. Cut each block into four. This is the recommended way to cut koya-tofu for simmered dishes, as it results in thick pieces that are easy to eat. Cutting into 1 cm strips. Place the koya-tofu on the cutting board so that the long side is facing you. Cut into 1 cm strips to shorten the cooking time and allow the tofu to quickly absorb seasoning. Tearing into pieces. Tear the tofu into bite-size pieces. The rough edges will make it easier to combine with other ingredients and absorb seasoning.