Hindi Name: Beancurd
Tofu is a fermented soya bean curd, used widely in Chinese cooking. It is prepared by coagulating soy milk and pressing the resulting curds. There are many different varieties of tofu, including fresh tofu and processed tofu. It has a subtle flavor and can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. It is often seasoned or marinated to suit the dish. A common cooking technique in many parts of East and Southeast Asia involves deep frying tofu in vegetable oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil. Tofu is usually sold immersed in water in order to maintain its water content. It has little flavor or taste of its own. It is a Chinese ingredient which is available all year round.
Tofu is similar in appearance to cottage cheese but differs drastically in taste as it is very bland. Tofu has a lower fat content than cottage cheese.
Tofu is often used as a replacement for meat in a variety of recipes such as lasagnas, salads, and sandwiches, on shish kebabs, soups, purees and many stir-fries and deep fried recipes. It can also be scrambled with turmeric to give it a texture and appearance similar to scrambled eggs. It is a preferred ingredient for most vegetarians and vegans. Vegetarians use it as a replacement for meat, while vegans use it as a replacement for cottage cheese.
Silken tofu is best suited for a variety of desserts, puddings and some dips as well, due to its smooth texture. Water soaked tofu must be refrigerated as it has a short shelf life. Firm varieties of tofu can be marinated, fried or sautéed.
1. It contains fiber and is a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium and some B vitamins. Tofu is a rich source of protein.
2. It also contains linolenic acid which is a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid that helps maintain a healthy heart.
3. Regular use of tofu can help lower cholesterol levels.
4. Isoflavones are compounds found in soy products, and they are known for their antioxidant property.
5. High intake of soy-based products also prevents breast cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases.
6. Soy isoflavones have been shown to reduce post menopause hot flashes in women.
Note: People who suffer soy allergies should not consume tofu.
Did you know?
It is said to have originated in ancient China some 2,000 years ago