Tofu is a commonly found ingredient in Asian cuisine, but do you know where it comes from? It begins with soy beans, soaked in water then finely ground to produce soy milk. After the soy milk has coagulated, the curds are pressed to squeeze out excess water – the reason for tofu’s distinctive square shape. Firmness is dependent on how much water is removed during the pressing process and can range from silken to extra firm. Originating in China, tofu spread to Korea and Japan and eventually much of South East Asia.
Regular consumption of tofu has been shown to have many health benefits including reducing the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. A great source of protein, calcium and iron, tofu is also low in calories, saturated fats and contains no cholesterol making it a popular replacement for meat products in vegetarian and vegan diets. Whether you choose to consume your tofu as a meat replacement or a stand alone addition, tofu is a great addition to your next meal.
Often seen in yong tau foo or tau fu fa, tofu can also be cooked in a sauce, stewed, stuffed or even eaten raw. As it consists of soy curds and water, it lacks a strong distinctive flavor making it easy to blend with other ingredients, so experiment with ingredients and cooking methods to find your favorite.