A versatile staple found in almost every Asian cuisine.
Originally from China, tofu is a versatile staple found in almost every Asian cuisine. High in protein and low in carbohydrates and cholesterol, tofu is a popular meat alternative. Tofu texture and flavor varies by country and can be anywhere from soft to firm.
To make tofu, dried soy beans are soaked in water, ground and then boiled. The resulting white liquid is strained to produce soy milk, a popular dairy alternative. The soy milk is then mixed with coagulants which causes the milk to solidify. Much like cheese, the resulting curds are strained and compressed into the familiar tofu blocks. The strained bean solid by-product of the process is called okara and is used in Japanese and vegetarian cooking. Tofu comes fresh packed in water and once opened can be kept for several days, changing the water every day.
Types of Tofu
Slightly cream in color, firm tofu is sometimes referred to as "Chinese tofu". The firm texture holds up well in cooked dishes such as stir-fries and braised dishes.
(Chinese: shui doufu; Filipino: taho; Japanese: kinugoshi dofu) Strained through fine mesh and allowed to settle into shape without weights, silken tofu is very smooth and delicate tofu. Given its delicate texture, silken tofu disintegrates quickly when used in cooking.
(cotton bean curd; Japanese: momen dofu) In general, Japanese tofu is slightly softer and smoother in texture and whiter in color than "Chinese tofu". Soft tofu can be enjoyed plain topped with scallions, grated ginger, katsuobushi and soy sauce in the Japanese dish hiyayakko or boiled, simmered, fried or stir-fried.