Tofu Tofu (豆腐, tōfu), also known as bean curd, is a food prepared by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into solid white blocks of varying softness. It can be silken, soft, firm, extra firm, or super firm. Beyond these broad textural categories, there are many varieties of tofu. It has a subtle flavor, so it can be used in savory and sweet dishes. It is often seasoned or marinated to suit the dish and its flavors, and due to its spongy texture, it absorbs flavors well. Because of the art required to produce tofu, it is usually considered that making your own can be a form of self-cultivation in Japanese cuisine. Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a food prepared by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into solid white blocks of varying softness.
Tofu offers numerous health benefits, such as high protein content with little or no saturated fats, low-calorie count, and abundant iron and calcium. Tofu contains all eight essential amino acids needed to maintain the health of the human body. It is an economical source of high-quality protein that can be used in place of meat for many recipes.
Tofu can be prepared in a variety of ways including frying, baking, grilling, and a variety of stir-fry methods. Tofu has a subtle flavor that absorbs the tastes with which it is cooked or marinated. It can also be seasoned to suit one's tastes, as in silken tofu with soy sauce, mirin, and dashi.
Tofu comes in a wide range of textures, depending on water content, from the firm, medium-firm and extra firm for stews and soups to soft or silken for salad dressings, desserts, and shakes. Tofu has a low-calorie count (about 100 calories per serving), relatively large amounts of protein, is low in saturated fat, and contains iron-rich calcium. Tofu contains all eight essential amino acids needed to maintain the health of the human body. It is an economical source of high-quality protein that can be used in place of meat for many recipes.
Tofu is made from soybeans and little else, with no additional processing other than pressing out the water (similar to cheese-making) and packaging it. It is made from ground dried soybeans and water. Soy milk, tofu's main raw material, is produced by soaking the beans and grinding them to a pulp. Then either calcium sulfate or sodium chloride may be added depending on the coagulation method before being boiled. The boiling process causes curdling, which is then separated into curds and whey. The curdling process occurs naturally in the production of traditional tofu and is produced intentionally for soymilk and tofu making to form a tofu "curd" or "cake".
Tofu has very little flavor or smell on its own and takes up the flavors of the ingredients with which it's prepared. It can be fried, grilled, or steamed and is often crumbled into recipes as a replacement for ground meat. Firm tofu has the highest calorie count (about 100 calories per serving), since it's higher in protein density than soft tofu. It absorbs marinades well so it readily takes on the flavors of sauces and seasonings to which it's cooked. Firm tofu can also be sliced, pressed to remove moisture, and baked. This gives it a firmer texture for grilling or barbecuing than soft tofu.