Tofu is a solid or semi-solid protein, made from condensed soy milk. In the most basic form, it's pressed into blocks, though it can be incorporated into other shapes. A single serving of tofu is 3.5 ounces and packs 8 grams of protein in only 70 calories.
Tofu Taste & Flavor Profile
Tofu usually comes packed in water. To store it in the refrigerator, just change the water daily and you can store it for a week. As long as the water stays fresh, the tofu will stay fresh. Tofu is naturally mild and sweet with a slightly nutty flavor. A particularly delicious cooking method is to sear it. This will crisp the edges and steam the center. Sweet scale: 6 of 10.
Tofu flavor tends to blossom in reaction to what it's served with; for example, soy milk in a cup of strong coffee will taste sweet against the bitterness. However, sour tofu probably equals spoiled tofu. If the tofu water smells a little off, discard the tofu. Sour scale: 0 out of 10.
Tofu will pick up the flavors you cook it in, and salt absorbs quickly. If you're adding soy to your diet as a meat replacement and miss crunchy fried things, try bathing your tofu slices in salt water before frying them. Crisp, flavorful and delicious! Salt scale: 6 of 10.
As previously noted, tofu is a little sweet with a slightly nutty taste. However, it will act both as a foil and as a sponge for whatever you cook it in. If you're looking for a sharper flavor from your tofu, try freezing it. Once thawed, you'll find the flavor and the texture have changed. On its own, fresh tofu has little bitterness. Bitter scale: 0 of 10.
What Is Tofu Made Out Of? How Is Tofu Made?
Tofu is made from soybeans. They're soaked until they double in size, then they're crushed into a pulp of soy milk and bean pulp. This mixture is heated until the moisture is reduced, resulting in a thick paste.
Centrifuges spin the paste to separate the milk from the meal. The soybean meal is used in animal feed, which the milk is thickened into a curd. Tofu can be spiced at this time. Once thickened, it's pressed into cakes.
SEE ALSO: How Long Does Tofu Last?
How To Eat Tofu? Best Way To Prepare It
Can u eat tofu raw? Tofu can be eaten both raw and cooked. If you are hoping to infuse a lot of flavor into your tofu, you'll want to cook it. However, soft block tofu can be incorporated into desserts, resulting in a mildly sweet, creamy texture.
Medium block tofu has a bit more texture but won't tolerate a lot of manipulation without crumbling. Blot it to remove excess moisture, slice or cube, and marinate or batter before cooking.
Firm and extra firm block tofu are extremely durable and ready to go to work in your kitchen!
Mori-Nu Silken Tofu (Extra Firm)
Tofu texture in firm and extra firm is quite hearty and will hold together while you cook them.
These products can be sliced or cubed and cooked in a variety of ways. They will tolerate battering, will absorb plenty of flavor from marinade, and will hold their shape when sautéed or fried.
Soft silken tofu is also available in a variety of densities. While regular block tofu is made by curdling the soy milk before coagulation, silken tofu is made with un-curdled soy milk and is extremely smooth to the touch.
It's also quite delicate and will crumble if over-manipulated, but works well in sauces.
Mori-Nu Organic Silken Tofu
Firm silken tofu holds its shape better than the soft, but still contains quite a bit of water.
While firm silken tofu can be sliced and fried, avoid pan-frying it over high heat or deep frying it; the spatter will be extreme.
Is Tofu Healthy? Tofu Nutrition
Tofu is extremely high in protein and low in calories. That being said, it should be noted that there are concerns about genetically modified (GMO) soy products in the human food chain.
It is quite easy to purchase organic, non-GMO soy products. In fact, if GMO exposure is a concern, substituting soy protein for meat protein is one of the fastest ways to get GMO products out of your diet.
Reducing your exposure to animal flesh can also protect your heart. While the fat in a lean cut of beef is nearly all saturated fat, the fat in soy is unsaturated and heart healthy.
Tofu also provides dietary fiber, which meat cannot give you.
A vegan or vegetarian diet is also critical for anyone trying to live a bit more lightly on the earth. Carbon emissions related to agricultural meat production accounts for approximately 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Is tofu healthier than chicken? As a general rule, tofu has higher carb content but is similar in protein content. While chickens are often fed hormones and antibiotics, as well as suffering the misery caused by factory farming tofu is pressed from soy milk.
It's important to know where your food comes from, and whether we like it or not, pretty much everything is political these days.
With a little creativity, tofu products can be a great source of low calorie protein and fiber in any diet.
Obviously, the vegan or vegetarian lifestyle is a choice that many simply aren't willing to make. However, going meatless once or twice a week might help protect your heart and our planet.
A Word About Allergies
Soy allergies are a very real concern and can run the gamut from a source of misery to a danger. Often, children exposed to soy as infants will display an allergic response.
Many children grow out of a soy allergy, but some take it into adulthood.
The response is generally mild; a tingly mouth or hives is not uncommon. Should you notice any swelling around your mouth or neck, seek medical attention immediately.
Tofu fans are often frustrated by inexperienced cooks who want to know how to change tofu into something it isn't; for example, how to make tofu taste like chicken.
If you want chicken, eat chicken! If you want to try new dishes comprised of a flexible food product that's good for you, experiment with tofu.
Let's start with dessert. What is tofu made of again? Soy beans. Tofu contains carbs, no way around it. However, the texture of tofu makes it easy to add protein and a low fat base to your desserts.
Tofu Chocolate Mousse Recipe here.
How about a quick snack?
Asian cuisine has centuries of expertise on how to make tofu taste good, so let's try Tofu Bites. This fried tofu recipe calls for extra firm, so handling it will be easy. Rice vinegar, sesame oil and a bit of frying will give you a yummy snack that you can enjoy hot or at room temperature.
This barbecue tofu recipe can use fresh or frozen tofu for a dense, chewy texture. Not only is this recipe tasty, but it's easy; you can do most of it in the oven.
This recipe also offers instructions for using a tofu press, a great way to remove excess moisture and make frying a little tidier.
Time for dinner! This baked tofu dish is packed with veggies, quinoa, and heart-healthy flavor Not only is this a great dish right out of the oven, but it's great the next day too!
If you lost your taste for tofu, you probably either had funky (that is, old) tofu or had it prepared poorly.
Start with firm or extra firm non-silken tofu so you can handle it easily. This product can be baked, fried or eaten raw.
Are you willing to give tofu another try? Let us know in the comments with your favorite tofu recipes, tips for using it at home, or what might have turned you away from using it.
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