Tofu is one of those foods that sparks debate. Some can’t rave enough about its health benefits, while others declare that it is a genetically-modified poison to be avoided at all costs. This may leave you wondering whether you should eat tofu or not. This article takes a detailed look at tofu and its health effects to determine whether it’s good for you.
tofu is an exotic food and they wouldn’t know how to prepare the square blocks. Others even wonder if tofu is healthy and how much of it they should be eating. Well, if you have never heard tofu, then you will find this article quite informative. Who knows, you might just become a fan of this healthy dish. Keep reading for some tips on how you can make it taste even better.
What Is Tofu ?
Tofu is a food made of condensed soy milk that is pressed into solid white blocks in a process quite similar to cheesemaking. It originated in China. Rumor has it that a Chinese cook discovered tofu more than 2,000 years ago by accidentally mixing a batch of fresh soy milk with nigari. Nigari is what remains when salt is extracted from seawater. It is a mineral-rich coagulant used to help tofu solidify and keep its form.
Tofu nutrition ?
Tofu is high in protein and contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs. It also provides fats, carbs, and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
One 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of tofu offers :
- Protein: 8 grams
- Carbs: 2 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Fat: 4 grams
- Manganese: 31% of the RDI
- Calcium: 20% of the RDI
- Selenium: 14% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 12% of the RDI
- Copper: 11% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 9% of the RDI
- Iron: 9% of the RDI
- Zinc: 6% of the RDI
DOES TOFU TASTE GOOD ?
‘how does tofu taste?’, we must first get into the details of what it’s made of. Tofu is simply soy milk that’s been curdled and then shaped into tiny blocks. Soybeans originate from East Asia. To make tofu, the beans are usually soaked for a while. Once the size of the beans increases, they are crushed and the liquid from them is gathered. This liquid is called soy milk. The milk is then curdled and pressed into a block. This block is what you will find sold in stores, and in all honesty, most people wouldn’t be impressed by it. So, what does tofu look like? It simply looks like a block of white sponge. Although tofu can be chiseled into any shape, most people are familiar with the tiny blocks. Before it has been cooked or seasoned, tofu tastes sour and is quite bland. However, this food is an excellent absorber of flavors, which makes it a favorite for anyone who knows their way around a kitchen. When prepared correctly, tofu can be savory, sweet, crunchy, or soft. One of the best things about tofu is that it is quite versatile. Some people like it raw. But if you want really up the flavor with this ingredient, you should try cooking it. Raw tofu has a mildly sweet and creamy texture, making it an excellent addition to desserts.
UNDERSTANDING THE TYPES OF TOFU :
If you are going to buy tofu, you may be overwhelmed by the available variety. The number of brands making different types of tofu all around the world is astonishing. However, all of them are made using the same basic method. Curdled soy milk. Whether you are just curious or would want to pick up some tofu for your next cookout, it helps to know what you are up against. Here are some of the most common types of tofu that you’ll find in a store.
FIRM/ EXTRA-FIRM TOFU :
If you are looking for a tofu that can be used across several dishes, the firm or extra-firm blocks of tofu will be ideal. This tofu is the most versatile type. You can fry, bake, make steaks, or even use it raw in a salad. It has a rubbery texture and holds its shape well, even after some manipulation. Firm tofu is always the safest choice if you are unsure of what to buy.
MEDIUM AND SOFT BLOCK TOFU
These two types have a smoother texture, which makes them crumble easier than the firm and extra-firm tofu blocks. They also have a high water content, which makes them a little less than ideal for pan-frying or stir-frying. One of these should be your go-to if you are looking to make a delicious sauce or any dish that doesn’t require much manipulation of the tofu (ie. cutting). Soft tofu is especially great in egg-like salads and any soup dishes. Medium block tofu, on the other hand, is great for boiling and braising.
This type of tofu is ultra-soft, rich, and creamy. Thanks to its soft texture and creamy nature, silken tofu is the perfect base ingredient for dairy-free cheesecakes and vegan mayonnaise. You can also use it as a base for soups, dips, and sauces after some pureeing. Silken tofu is the ideal ingredient if you are looking to make decadent dessert recipes. You can whisk it vigorously with sugar to create a faux-whipped cream or pie filling. If you want to try something a little more authentic, serve it cold with some grated ginger and some soy sauce. This is a beloved traditional dish in Japan, and the perfect appetizer if you ask me!
Ever had one of those days where you are just too tired to whip up an entire meal? Fried tofu is the perfect solution for days like that! These little blocks are fried and pre-packaged. All you need to do is throw it in a pan and stir-fry with one of your favorite sauces. The spongy texture of Fried tofu allows it to pick up flavors perfectly.
If you are looking for a quick tofu snack, baked tofu is a great ingredient to have tucked away in your pantry. These blocks of tofu are baked and packaged in a vacuum seal. Baked tofu is usually ready to eat, but it also makes a great addition to meals such as casseroles, sandwiches, and salads. Baked Tofu comes in a variety of marinade flavors such as Teriyaki and Mexican, so you can choose whatever you like.
How to Make Baked Tofu ?
- 14 ounces extra firm tofu, or firm tofu
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Set the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat to 400ºF (204ºC).
- Line a baking sheet with a few layers of paper towel and set aside.
- Remove the tofu from the packaging, pouring off excess water. Drain tofu and dry excess moisture with paper towels.
- Cut tofu into cubes about ¾-inch in size, or slice into ¼-inch thick rectangular pieces.
- Arrange the tofu on the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Place a few layers of paper towel on top.
- Place another baking sheet on top of the tofu, then add some weights on top like a few cans of food to help press out the extra moisture.
- Allow tofu to express the excess moisture for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Transfer tofu to a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Gently use fingers to toss the cubes to combine or evenly coat the larger slices on each side by flipping over.
- Sprinkle the cornstarch over the tofu and gently combine until the outside of the tofu is evenly coated.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Arrange the tofu in a single layer, evenly spaced on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes, and then use a spatula to flip over the pieces for even cooking.
- Cook an additional 15 to 25 minutes depending on the size of the tofu, until the surface is a light golden brown and crisp.