All you need to know about… Tofu
Tofu, also known as bean curd, is an incredibly versatile and popular food enjoyed worldwide. Originating in China around the 2nd century BC during the Han Dynasty, it has been a staple of the food culture in China for over 2,000 years. While tofu has been popular throughout Asia for thousands of years, its popularity in western culture only started to grow in the 1960s with the rise of the health food movement.
Tofu is a complete protein that is made from soybeans and includes all nine essential amino acids. But how is tofu made we hear you ask? Dried soybeans are saturated and soaked in water and then ground down into a thick liquid which is cooked to thicken it. Nagiri (a salt used to stiffen and bind the tofu) is added, then the tofu is cut into blocks and excess water is removed by squeezing the liquid from the tofu.
There are five different types of tofu, graded by firmness. Silken (being the softest), medium, firm, extra firm, and super firm. The firmness is determined by water content. Silken tofu contains the highest amount of water with the water content decreasing as the tofu gets firmer.
Nutritionally, tofu is high in iron and is a good source of protein. It is low in kilojoules and is a good meat replacement for vegetarian or vegan diets. With little flavour of its own, tofu is an ideal ingredient in both sweet and savoury dishes, where it takes on the flavour profile of the other ingredients. It is often marinated with flavours like garlic, soy sauce, chilli, teriyaki, ginger, and sesame.
Tofu can be enjoyed in many ways; try it stir-fried, baked, in the air-fryer, scrambled, in cheesecakes and desserts, whipped, barbecued, smoked, fermented, and fried. No matter how you enjoy tofu what’s certain is that it’s a tasty and nutritious part of any balanced diet.