Because tofu has a mild flavor and a porous texture, it readily absorbs the flavors of other ingredients. This makes tofu a perfect addition to a wide variety of both savory and sweet dishes.
It is important to choose the right tofu for a dish. Use firm tofu in dishes like stir fries, where you want chunks of tofu to stay intact. Use softer versions or silken tofu when you are puréeing or mashing the tofu. Firm tofu can also be frozen. Place the whole package—water and all if it is water-packed—into the freezer until it is frozen solid. Frozen tofu will keep for 3 months. When defrosted, and the water is squeezed out, the tofu takes on a pleasant caramel color and a pleasing chewy texture that makes it an especially good meat substitute.
Since tofu has been used for centuries in Asian countries, it is a common ingredient in a variety of Asian dishes. But its increasing popularity in western countries has given rise to many new uses for this versatile food. There are many delicious ways to prepare tofu:
Add chunks of soft tofu to miso soup for a traditional Japanese delicacy.
Add chunks of firm tofu to a curry sauce for the flavor of Thailand.
For a Korean-flavored meal, marinate tofu in soy sauce and fresh ginger, and then stir fry with garlic, onions, and hot peppers.
Add chunks of firm tofu to vegetable soups or stews. Allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes so that the tofu absorbs the other flavors in the dish.
Scramble coarsely mashed tofu with onions, mushrooms, herbs, and a dash of nutritional yeast for a delicious breakfast scramble.
Purée soft tofu with melted chocolate chips for a creamy pie filling.
Tofu comes in a number of varieties: The traditional Japanese delicacy called silken tofu is produced when the curds are left undrained and unpressed. This tofu has a soft, delicate texture, somewhat like custard. The curds can also be pressed to varying degrees of firmness and are available as soft, regular, firm, and extra-firm tofu. The firmer the tofu, the better it holds its shape.
Flavored tofu is also available. It may be infused with herbs and spices to produce a Mediterranean or curry flavor. Or, it is sometimes baked or steamed with soy sauce for a savory product that doesn’t require any other preparation. Reduced-fat tofu is also available.
Tofu, 1/2 cup (126g) (firm, prepared with
calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride)
Total Fat: 5.6g
*Excellent source of: Calcium (204mg)
*Good source of: Iron (1.8mg), Magnesium (58mg), Selenium (11.8mcg), and Folate (41.5mcg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.
Copyright © 2007 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. www.healthnotes.com
The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires September 2008.