All you need to know about Tofu
There are so many different types of Tofu available to us. Just knowing a little bit about Tofu makes it so easy to enjoy a whole heap of recipes.
How tofu is made
- Soya Beans are soaked overnight in water & then pureed & strained.
- The liquid is the soya milk that will be made into tofu.
- The residue retains some nutritive value & can be used in other dishes.
- The soya milk is heated, a coagulant is added to separate the soya milk into curds & whey.
- This is then ladled into cloth lined boxes with small holes so the whey drips through.
- The curds are gently pressed to form a block of Tofu.
The more the block is pressed the firmer the tofu.
The difference between firm & soft Tofu is the amount of water left in the bean curd.
Can be used for most recipes as it holds its shape during cooking. You can also puree to a smooth consistency.
Sets without producing whey & is not pressed.
It is still quite soft & can be pan-fried, grilled or gently folded.
Used in salads or even floating in soups.
Can be pureed or scrambled well
Soft smooth & creamy with a delicate taste. The tofu to use in simple dishes that needs little handling.
Purees well for dips, smoothies, sauces, puddings & parfaits.
Extra Firm Tofu
Quite firm. Holds it's shape. Can be shredded or crumbled.
Natural nigari is the traditional Japanese coagulant, and it is considered to give the best flavour.
Dessert Tofu can be flavoured with coconut, almond and Mango. All these are available in your local supermarkets.
They can be pureed & combined with other ingredients to make cakes, ice cream, smoothies & custards.
Tofu ice cream is also available.
Grilled Tofu (yaki -dofu)
Grilling tofu makes it firmer & nuttier to taste.
Marinating tofu before grilling is optional.
This is quite easy to do at home. If you are in a rush you can also buy it from the shops in an array of shapes & sizes.
If cooking at home pour boiling water over tofu , leave for 1 minute, this removes excess oil. Pat tofu dry & deep fry.
There are 2 different ways you can deep fry tofu:
Thin deep-fried tofu (aburaage)
These are pretty much self explanatory. You can chop them up & use them in soups, stir-fries & casseroles. You can also slice them open & stuff them with sweet & savoury fillings.
Thick-deep fried tofu (atuge or namaage)
This tofu is deep fried very quickly to allow the centre of the tofu to remain soft yet the outside crispy.
Seasoned Tofu Pouches
These thin deep fried tofu pouches are cooked in sweetened soy sauce & traditionally filled with sushi rice.
This is great for camping trips. Just combine with water, heat pinch of sea salt & allow to set.
This is the traditional Japanese coagulant. It is also considered to give tofu the best flavour.
This can be found in most super market fridges. It comes in packets & quite a few different flavours, such as coconut, almond & mango.
They are very sweet. Can be served with fresh fruit as a quick dessert or even pureed to make cakes, custards ice cream & biscuits.
Adds a nuttier flavour & a texture to the tofu. You can grill tofu plain or marinate first. Just pat dry & pop under the grill.
Freezing just turns the water in the bean curd to ice. When defrosted the water drains away & the tofu is left with a concentrated protein level.
Seasoned tofu pouches
These sweetened tofu pouches are traditionally filled with sushi rice.
Originally from Indonesia, and still the most popular soya food there. It has a mild nutty, yeast like flavour & a texture similar to meat. The fermentation makes it more digestible than other soya foods.
It can be used in all sorts of ways like tofu: soups, stir-fries, casseroles, sauces, dips, and can be a great substitute for any meat dish.
I hope this has put some sort of clarity into shopping for the correct tofu for your dish. I must say when I first had tofu years ago I really didn't like it. Then I realised if I marinated it with tamari, ginger & sea salt with a little crushed fresh ginger, left it to really soak into the tofu for a few hours covered in the fridge it tasted fantastic!!