Tofu knots, or bǎiyè jié (百叶节), are an interesting ingredient that highlight one of the key aspects of Chinese cuisine that isn’t as strongly emphasized in Western cuisines: texture.
These little knots of tofu add a delightful change in texture in soups and braised dishes, and while they may be an unfamiliar ingredient, we’ll tell you everything you need to know in this quick article.
What Are Tofu Knots? How Are They Used?
Tofu knots are made from thin sheets of pressed tofu that are then folded and tied into small knots. They’re primarily used in braised dishes or soups, as all the flavor of a sauce or soup they’re cooked in gets caught into the little folds of each knot.
Tofu knots can be easily added or substituted in for any braised dish, including our favorite Shanghai-Style Braised Pork Belly (Hong Shao Rou), Pork Rib Stew in Chee Hou Sauce, or soups like our Fish Tofu Soup.
They are also a key ingredient in the Shanghai classic soup, Yan Du Xian.
Buying & Storing
While you could make your own tofu knots using fresh sheets of tofu skin, you can also find them pre-made in the Chinese grocery store’s refrigerated section.
Refrigerate them and use them by the date stamped on the package. They can also be frozen for later use, as long as you cook with them within 2-3 months. Simply defrost before using (or if adding to soups, they can actually just be added directly to the soup while frozen).