Tofu. It has been around for thousands of years and is a staple food in many Asian countries. Tofu is high in protein and considered a complete protein, as it contains all of the essential amino acids. Unfortunately, tofu does not have much of a reputation in this country. Those who shun it are usually those who have never had it, or have only tried it once or twice. I think it's safe to assume that the majority of peoples' dislike for tofu is based on psychological thoughts they harbor before even tasting it in the first place.
Tofu has also gotten a bit of a bad rap from the "scientific" community as well. Recently, many so-called "studies" have claimed that "soy" is responsible many health ailments. Why soy? Why not pinto, or kidney, or black, or garbanzo? Why do we focus in on this innocent bean? I am sure it has something to do with it being an excellent replacement for meat. In fact, aside from being a complete protein, just like meat, tofu is also free of cholesterol, unlike meat. It's also important to keep in mind that many of these "studies" are completely irrelevant as they are based on using highly concentrated forms of soy isolate in quantities that you would never consume in real life. Sure, as a food additive, soy isolates may not be the best thing for us, but as a bean, or as a mildly processed food such as soy milk or tofu, we have seen nothing but desirable health effects.
Our dear friend, tofu, is often excluded from the vocabulary of many vegan advocates. In fact, many of them believe that we should not mention tofu so much because it gives people the stereotype that it is all we eat. Why not teach people about it instead of shunning it? I, myself, enjoy tofu and all of it's magnificent qualities. It is such a versatile ingredient that can be used in everything ranging from savory to sweet and from chewy to creamy. Tofu, is perhaps my most favorite food and I'm not afraid to say it. I even like tofu all alone, by itself, straight out of the box.
I have decided to make this post the first in a series I like to call, Ten Tips for Tackling Tofu. Ever wondered how to incorporate it in to dishes? Ever wanted to be able to serve it to others and not worry about it not tasting great? Ever wonder how they prepare it when you go out to eat and are unable to recreate the same texture at home? Well, if so, you are in luck because those are exactly the types of things I am going to cover. I will show you the basic ways to prepare tofu and offer some simple recipes you can follow yourself.
I have already given tofu a brief introduction, but how is tofu made? It's easy, in fact you can make it at home. It all begins with soybeans that are cooked and pureed with water. Then, a coagulant is used to separate the curds from the milk (sound familiar?). Finally, the curds are presses in a piece of cheesecloth (again, sound familiar?) until the moisture has left and it becomes a sliceable block.
Here's a quick rundown of how tofu is prepared in a factory:
Stay tuned for your first Tip for Tackling Tofu!