Tofu : What To Make With Tofu


Learning About Tofu

Many people and chefs nowadays making many wonderful dishes based on tofu. However, tofu seems to be confusing for some, as one of my friend find is bland and gets confused about what type of tofu she should get. I thought, may be many you may have the same issue or wonder about it, so here is little tidbit about tofu to make life easier for all of us;

What is Tofu?

Tofu or bean curd is a food made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. It is part of East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and others.[5] There are many different varieties of tofu, including fresh tofu and tofu that has been processed in some way. Tofu has a subtle flavor and can be used in savory and sweet dishes. It is often seasoned or marinated to suit the dish.

Origin of Tofu:

Tofu is thought to have originated in ancient China,but its precise origins are debated. Tofu and its production technique were introduced into Korea and then Japanduring the Nara period. It also spread into other parts of East Asia as well.This spread likely coincided with the spread of Buddhism because it is an important source of protein in the vegetarian diet of East Asian Buddhism.

Why eat tofu?

Tofu has a low calorie count, relatively large amounts of protein, and little fat. It is high in iron and, depending on the coagulant used in manufacturing, may also be high in calcium and/or magnesium.


Tofu is relatively high in protein, about 10.7% for firm tofu and 5.3% for soft “silken” tofu with about 5% and 2% fat, respectively as a percentage of weight.

In 1995, a report from the University of Kentucky, financed by The Solae Company St. Louis, Missouri (the PTI division of DuPont), concluded that soy protein is correlated with significant decreases in serum cholesterol, Low Density Lipoprotein LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglyceride concentrations. However, High Density Lipoprotein HDL (good cholesterol) did not increase. Soy phytoestrogens (isoflavones: genistein and daidzein) absorbed onto the soy protein were suggested as the agent reducing serum cholesterol levels. On the basis of this research, PTI, in 1998, filed a petition with Food and Drug Administration for a health claim that soy protein may reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

The FDA granted this health claim for soy: “25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.” For instance, 100 grams of firm tofu coagulated with calcium sulfate contains 15.78 grams of soy protein.[44] In January 2006, an American Heart Association review (in the journal Circulation) of a decade-long study of soy protein benefits showed only a minimal decrease in cholesterol levels, but it compared favorably against animal protein sources.[45]


Soy isoflavones have not been shown to reduce post menopause hot flashes in women or to help prevent cancers of the breast, uterus or prostate. Thus, soy isoflavone supplements in food or pills are not recommended.[46]

A study done by the Pacific Health Research Institute followed over 3000 Japanese men between 1965 and 1999, which showed a positive correlation between cerebral atrophy and consumption of tofu.[47] According to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, more research is needed.

Type of Tofu:

Firm tofu is the most common form. Often found packaged in the dairy section, it absorbs marinades well and can be cubed and added to green salads. Seasoned and quickly pan-fried, tofu has a crispy exterior and soft creamy middle. It can also be frozen and then crumbled, giving it the texture of ground beef.

Extra firm tofu makes people say “Tastes like chicken.” This tofu is often used as a meat substitute in Asian or vegetarian dishes. To make it even more firm, it can be pressed: wrap the block in paper towels and placing a weight (like a dinner plate with a soup can or two on top). Grilled or fried, it works well in pastas, sandwiches, and curries.

Silken tofu is equivalent to a thin custard, or heavy cream. It works wonderfully as a base for dips and spreads. Puréed and used as a dairy alternative, it easily mixes into soups, bakes up in tasty desserts, or scrambles like eggs.

Other types: In addition to there are dried tofu, flavored tofu, fried tofu, frozen tofu are available.

Some Tofu Recipes;

Thai Curry with Tofu:


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 (12 ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (10 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
How to make:
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu cubes, season with seasoned salt and fry until golden on all sides, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove to paper towels, and set aside.
  2. Melt butter or margarine in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until tender. Stir in coconut milk, curry powder, salt, pepper and cilantro. Return the tofu to the skillet. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Tofu Dessert:

  • 1 (12 ounce) package silken tofu
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raspberries or strawberry or blue berry (per choice)
  • 1 pear, cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup low fat granola
  • 2 tablespoons raisins

How to Make:

  1. Combine tofu, maple syrup and vanilla in blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth, then transfer to a bowl and stir in berries until mixture is slightly pink.
  2. Layer fruity tofu in serving glasses with apple and granola, top with raisins and serve.

More Tofu Recipe Ideas and Cookbooks

Tofu Cookery (25th Anniversary)

Giant Book Of Tofu Cooking: 350 Delicious & Healthful Recipes

This Can’t Be Tofu!: 75 Recipes to Cook Something You Never Thought You Would–and Love Every Bite


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