četrtek, 13. januar 2011


Tofu is especially loved by vegetarians and vegans thanks to it's great nutritional value. It is a perfect substitute for animal proteins. It can be eaten raw, cooked, fried or whatever way you desire. Since it doesn't have strong flavour you can marinate it to fit it to your taste. You can even make a smoothie or a delicious tofu pudding.

It is a great food, thanks to Chinese who invented it more than 2000 years ago. If prepared properly it can taste great.
Examples of high-protein foods are tofu, dairy...Image via Wikipedia

What is Tofu
Tofu is a soft cheese-like food made by curdling soy milk with a coagulant. You get a rather bland tasting product that easily absorbs new flavors through spices and marinades.

It is rich in protein and other nutrients. It is very popular in Asian cuisine and has also situated deeply into Western vegetarian and vegan cooking.

Types of Tofu
Firm tofu is dense and can be cubed and stir-fried, grilled, scrambled, pickled, smoked, baked, barbecued or served in soups.

Soft tofu is undrained tofu and contains large amount of moisture. It is more suited for recipes in which tofu needs to be blended.

Silken tofu has a creamy structure and is also used in blended dishes.

Dried tofu is an extra firm variety of tofu with large amount of moisture removed from it.

Benefits for your Health
Tofu is rich in both high quality protein and a numerous other nutrients necessary for good health. It contains all essential amino acids and therefore is a complete source of protein and an excellent substitute for meat. As opposed to soya milk, tofu contains a lot of calcium, iron and Omega-3 Fats. Calcium in tofu contributes to the prevention of osteoporosis. It reduces chances of heart disease and has multiple health benefits to the meat.

How Tofu is Made
Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the resulting curds. The process is similar to the production of a cheese, but with soy milk instead of cows milk. This is 100% vegan process which means it does not contain any animal based ingredient.

Soy beans are soaked and then ground down with water. The resulting liquid after straining is the soy milk.
The soy milk is then heated up and coagulated. Less coagulant produces softer tofu, more produces harder tofu.

The History of Tofu
According to one Chinese legend, tofu was created when a cook decided to experiment by flavoring a batch of cooked soybeans with the compound nagari. Instead of flavored soybeans, he ended up with bean curd. This happened more than 2000 years ago. It soon became very popular with Buddhist monks who started the voyage of tofu all over the world.

How to Cook Tofu
Tofu does not need to be cooked at all and can be eaten raw. You can prepare it in almost any way you like. It is a very cooking-friendly food. It is a rather bland tasting product that easily absorbs the flavours of the other ingredients. The most important part of preparing tofu is to remove water that is inside it to make room for new flavours to get in. The best way to make it taste great is to marinate it. Before marinating it you should press it to remove water inside it. That way it absorbs more taste from marinade.
Another very important tip is to use as fresh tofu as possible. The best option is the one that was made the same day. Check more on how to cook tofu.
There are many types of  tofu, from soft to firm. If you want tofu to retain its shape then use firmer one, eg. for stir fry. For shakes or scrambles use softer tofu.

Tofu is rich in many nutrients: proteins, iron, B-vitamins, isoflavones. If made with a calcium, it is also a great source of calcium. There is no need for meat if you put tofu in your diet. Even if you are not vegan or vegetarian tofu is great and healthy alternative for meat.
On the other hand tofu contains small amount of calories. It has one of highest protein to calories ratio which means you get high amount of protein with least calories (11g of protein in 100 calories).

Tofu is low on Calories
In 100 grams (0.22 lb) of tofu there are only about 75 calories. This is less than in most foods with similar protein and nutrient values. For comparison: 100 grams of cheese contains from 150 - 350 calories. For more info read article on calories in tofu.

How much Tofu should I eat
Can you overdo the tofu? Yes, as with any food, too much tofu is not a good thing. This is particularly due to high protein content since too much ANY protein in your diet is not healthy, especially longterm. So keep everything in moderation, including the tofu!