Tofu, also known as soybean curd, is an easily-available alternative to meat. It’s inexpensive and extremely versatile, serving as a tasty addition to many recipes. It’s a very good idea to add tofu to your diet, particularly if you’re vegan or vegetarian. Not only is it full of protein, but is also an excellent source of calcium!
Tofu is a byproduct of soybeans, which is made by soaking, boiling, and straining the beans to extract a liquid. Magnesium or calcium is added to curdle this. These curds are then pressed into blocks to remove any moisture. The amount of liquid that is extracted determines the firmness and texture of the tofu.
Types of Tofu
Tofu can be used fresh, fried, or dried. Fresh tofu is the most commonly used and is available in three different textures—silken, firm, and extra-firm. Silken tofu has the most amount of moisture and a custard like texture. It can be used for smoothies, dips, and dressings. It is a great replacement for dairy in desserts. Firm tofu has less moisture and a denser texture. A good way to use this is by crumbling it over casseroles and salads. Extra-firm tofu holds up well in cooked dishes and stir-fries as it has the least amount of moisture.
Dried Tofu needs to be soaked in water before use. It is available as sticks or sheets and is often used in Asian stews and soups.
Fried tofu are pieces of tofu that have been deep-fried. It is great in soups, sushi, or tossed in salads.
Tofu has been a staple of Asian cuisine for centuries and there are hundreds of tofu-based traditional dishes. It sometimes gets a bad rep for being bland, spongy, and tasteless, but this is far from the truth. It has the amazing ability to absorb any flavors, marinades, and spices that are cooked with it!
Tofu is a great substitute for meat and seafood in recipes, as it can be as chewy and firm as these proteins. To get that characteristic meat-like texture, freeze extra -firm tofu and press it to remove any moisture. You can then slice it up and use it as a vegan replacement for meat. Always gently rinse tofu before adding it to recipes.
Tofu is available in most grocery stores, so why not give it a try? Crumble it, slice it, dice it, fry it, or grill it. You may be pleasantly surprised!
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