Tofu was first created in China nearly 2,000 years ago. It was then brought into Japan in the 8th century, and the Japanese started using it exhaustively. First called shirakabe, okabe or kabe, tofu eventually got its current name somewhere between the 14th and 16th centuries. Tofu turned to be a common ingredient in Asian cuisine throughout the Edo period (1603-1867), but its popularity actually began to soar starting 1965, when boxed tofu became accessible in Japan. Nowadays, of course, packaged tofu is available all over.
Tofu is just curdled soybean milk. It does sound horrible, right? But if you imagine soybeans as milk, then tofu is cheese. For instance, cow’s milk is, of course, separated to curds and whey throughout cheese production, and soy milk is also separated to make tofu.
Tofu has two types of textures: regular and silken. Regular tofu is known simply as “tofu.” It bears a fibrous, sponge like texture. Silken tofu possesses a creamier, custard-like texture. Silken and regular tofu are boxed in three different forms:
These types are classified into dense, denser, and densest. The more dense the tofu, the more its calorie content. But, no need to worry, since a 2 1/2-oz serving contains only 12O calories, or almost the same as an equal piece of turkey, while loading down a much greater nutritional impact: 120 milligrams of calcium, 13 grams of protein, and 8 milligrams of iron.
Tofu has a really modest flavor — in fact, several people regard it to be flavorless. Why should anyone eat something that carries no flavor? This maybe true but the nutritional value of tofu could be hard to match. First, tofu is a complete protein, entailing that it carries all 8 amino acids crucial to a person’s health. It is packed with nutrients and a healthier option over meat. Second, it adds up texture and substance while absorbing the flavors of the foods it’s cooked together with. Would you like to beef up your vegetarian chili? Pitch in a few chopped firm tofu. Ever wanted your vegetable spread to be a little creamier? Blend it up with a few silken tofu. Want greater hamburgers per pound of ground beef? Add a bit of mashed tofu.
Because the popularity of tofu grows, the variety and availability of tofu products grows as well. And they’re not longer the bland, plain tofu-in-a-box that we are used to. You are able to find flavorful tofu nowadays — marinated, smoked, grilled or seasoned — in most grocery stores and natural foods stores.
Saw, Betty. Tofu . Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Cuisine, 2009
Shurtleff, William, and Akiko Aoyagi. The book of tofu: food for mankind.. Extensively rev. & updated, condensed; 1. Ballantine Books ed. New York: Ballantine Books, 1981
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