Tofu

Tofu is a controversial product. Some consider it a tasteless curd mass, others - a real plant storehouse of useful components. From a culinary point of view, this product is universal. Tofu has no characteristic taste, it is neutral and literally absorbs the aroma / taste of accompanying ingredients like a sponge.

Soy cheese is a panacea for vegans and vegetarians. Tofu contains healthy fatty acids, protein, vital vitamins and minerals. But there is no need to eat this product in large quantities, since it is fraught with some danger. Abnormal consumption of tofu is fraught with anemia and hormonal disorders.

General characteristics of the product

Tofu - soy cheese / cottage cheese, which came from the Asian culinary tradition. Soybeans are crushed, fresh hot milk and special thickeners are added so that the masses combine into a dense substance. Nigari (a special saline solution) is used as a thickener, sometimes oxidizing agents like vinegar or lemon juice are introduced. The finished cheese is given the necessary shape and packaged in briquettes.

The product has been popular in China for 2000 years. There are few historical facts about tofu; ancient Chinese legends turned out to be more valuable. One of them says that the first tofu was cooked by a Chinese chef by chance. The cook was preparing soybeans, but miscalculated the dosage of nigari and received curd instead of the planned dish.

Modern tofu has become a global treasure. From rare Asian shops, he migrated to the shelves of every chain supermarket. They sell 2 types of cheese: soft and hard. Their taste qualities are absolutely identical, only the structure and composition differ. For soups, soft cheese is more suitable (it has more protein), for independent dishes - hard cheese (it has more protein ).

How the product is made

Tofu is made by curdling soy milk protein. In order for the protein to coagulate (take on a curdled consistency), milk is subjected to heat treatment or filtered. Nigari, citric acid or calcium sulfate are used as a coagulant (mandatory substance for clotting). In the Pacific Islands, sea water is used instead of coagulant. This kind of tofu is called sima-tofu (translated as island tofu).

After the protein has curdled, the cheese is pressed and then used for its intended purpose. Ready tofu gets a beautiful milky color, neutral taste and smell. Like other soft cheeses, tofu is packaged in an airtight container filled with water.

Benefits

Just 100 grams of soy product contains a whopping 8 grams of protein and 70 calories. What is this, if not an ideal option for losing weight and staying on the “drying”? Due to the neutral taste, tofu will definitely not have time to become boring. Today you make a salty snack, tomorrow a sour lunch, the day after tomorrow a sweet afternoon snack. The taste will be so varied and pleasant that there will be more of one required ingredient in the grocery basket.

The main advantage of tofu is the vegetable protein in the composition. The percentage of protein varies depending on the structure of the final product. In dense cheese, about 11% of the vegetable protein component, in soft cheese - 6%. In addition to the basic nutrients, tofu provides the body with iron and essential amino acids.

What else is good about the product?

  1. Omega-3. Useful fatty acids can be obtained not only from fish or seafood, but also from plant foods. The so-called "omegas" improve the condition of the heart, blood vessels, joints, prevent the development of pathologies, inflammatory processes. Fatty acids also support the health of the organs of vision: periodically moisturize the retina, improve vision, relax the eyes.
  2. Calcium. This is one of the most important macronutrients needed by everyone, regardless of age and gender. Particular attention should be paid to calcium-containing foods for children, pregnant and lactating women, and the elderly. This substance forms the skeletal system, makes us stronger and more resilient. The same calcium is responsible not only for physical strength, but also for beauty. The condition of hair, teeth and nails is largely dependent on calcium intake.

45% of the skeletal system is formed before 8 years of age. In the next 8 years, the remaining 45% are formed. Be especially attentive to the baby's diet during this period and give the baby the maximum allowable amount of important nutrients.

  1. Lysine. The amino acid protects the body from viruses (including the human papillomavirus), has an anti-inflammatory effect, protects a person from pathologies of the heart and blood vessels, and is involved in protein synthesis. Lysine deficiency leads to impaired reproductive function, hair loss, weight loss, irritability, loss of concentration. One of the side effects of deficiency is hemorrhage in the eyeball.

Tofu as a substitute for protein bars

Protein bars are nothing more than a marketing bait for those who are trying to get their diet in order without understanding elementary rules of nutrition. Usually they are used as a snack, not paying attention to jumps of glucose, abdominal pain and decreased performance. Experts recommend replacing unhealthy protein bars with any superfood, among which tofu stands out favorably.

A soy product will quickly saturate the body, suppress hunger for a long time, energize not only for training, but also for a walk after it. At the same time, the body receives a supply of nutritious amino acids, the skin absorbs vitamins, the brain is eager to process information, and the conscience is clear and does not even remember the chocolate bar in your pocket.

Chemical composition of the product

Nutritional value (per 100 grams of finished cheese)
Calories 73 kcal
Proteins 8.1 g
Fat 4.2 g
Carbohydrates 0.6 g
Dietary fiber 0 g
Water 0 g
Cholesterol 0 g
Ash 1.62 g
Vitamin composition (in milligrams per 100 gram cheese)
Thiamine (B1) 0.081
Riboflavin (B2) 0.052
Niacin (B 3) 0.195
Choline (B4) 106.3
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.068
Pyridoxine (B6) 0.047
Folic acid (B9) 0.015
Ascorbic acid (C) 0.1
Tocopherol (E) 0.04
Nicotinic acid (PP) 4.57
Nutrient balance (in milligrams per 100 grams of finished cheese)
Macronutrients
Potassium (K) 146
Calcium (Ca) 372
Magnesium (Mg) [1 23]60
Sodium (Na) 16
Phosphorus (P) 287
Trace elements
Iron (Fe) 4.87
Manganese (Mn) 1.5
Copper (Cu) 0.4
Fluorine (F) 28.5
Zinc (Zn) 1.99

Culinary Uses

Tofu is often used as a substitute rather than a unique ingredient. Nutritious protein cheese is especially revered among vegans and vegetarians who need plant-based analogues of animal products. Tofu can be used as a binder in baked goods instead of eggs, or as a pie/cake base instead of cottage cheese.

Cheese can be used to make scrambled eggs, vegan shakshuka, or non-traditional scrambled eggs. Fast and easy cooking attracts both culinary specialists and ordinary amateurs. To prepare a memorable snack, simply crumble tofu with your hands, fry with vegetables and your favorite spices.

Tofu creates a real space for creativity, as it is a white canvas for your culinary masterpieces.

How to cook tofu correctly

If you decide to go vegan/vegetarian or just diversify the menu, then the question arises - how to cook tofu? Not everyone likes the taste of raw cheese. Even spicy tofu does not have a special aroma and taste. Our spoiled receptors are used to receiving a whole palette of aromas and tastes. Tofu is more calm and moderate in this regard.

How to prepare tofu

Before cooking tofu, you need to get rid of the accumulated liquid as much as possible. Take the block of cheese out of the package. Lay a piece of cheese on one paper towel and cover it with another. It is better to fold each towel in several layers for greater efficiency. Place something heavy (an empty container/basket of beans) on the surface of the wrapped product and let sit for at least 20 minutes. Excess liquid will flow out, and the cheese will be ready for further action. Do not leave it for more than 2 hours. Tofu will simply dry out, lose its flavor and texture.

Cooking secrets

Cut the prepared product into pieces of the required size and soak in sauce or marinade. Tofu will absorb the taste of the sauce like a sponge, so carefully consider the composition of the sauce / marinade and its compatibility with the desired dish. Marinate no more than 30 minutes.

Culinary Tip: Tofu pairs well with citrus fruits. Marinate Cheese in Lemon / Lime / Orange / Grapefruit Sauce for a surprisingly tasty and rich product that can also be used to make salty appetizer and sweet dessert.

Use vegetable oils such as sesame or coconut to fry the product. Oil will give additional taste, make the dish perfect and unique. Cook the cheese in a very hot skillet for 5 to 7 minutes. The product must be constantly stirred, and spices should be added at the very end of cooking.

Agedashi tofu recipe

We will need:

  • tofu - 150 g;
  • corn starch - 5 g;
  • ponzu sauce - 2 tablespoons (can be replaced with sauce to taste);
  • nori - 1 sheet;
  • mushrooms to taste - 20 g;
  • fresh spinach - 10 g;
  • a drop of vegetable oil for frying;
  • green onions - 5 g;
  • sesame to taste.

Preparation

Cut the tofu into small rectangles, dip in cornstarch (so that the mixture completely covers the cheese) and fry in a drop of vegetable oil 30- 40 seconds on each side. Place the fried tofu on a paper towel to drain excess oil.

Prepare a saucepan, heat the sauce in it, add pre-chopped mushrooms and blanch the ingredients. Place the cooked tofu on a plate/tray/board, pour over the mushroom sauce, and place the mushrooms themselves on top of the cheese. Garnish the agedashi tofu with sesame seeds, onion, nori strips, spinach and your favorite spices. Serve immediately after cooking, before the food has cooled. The dish will be a great addition to breakfast or a separate afternoon snack.

Crispy Tofu with Red Rice Recipe

​​

For the sauce we need:

  • coconut pulp - 100 g;
  • purified water - 80 g;
  • tofu - 100 g;
  • hot chili to taste.

For Crispy Marinated Tofu we will need:

  • tofu - 200g;
  • corn starch - 1 tablespoon;
  • soy sauce to taste - 2 tablespoons;
  • rice vinegar - 1 tablespoon;
  • natural cane sugar to taste;
  • Thai sauce - 1 tablespoon (can be replaced with a few grams of hot chili);
  • honey to taste - 1 tablespoon.

For red rice we need:

  • soy sauce - 2 tablespoons;
  • rice vinegar - 1 tablespoon;
  • natural cane sugar - 1 tablespoon;
  • dark beer - 4 tablespoons (ingredient can be removed if desired);
  • rice - 200 g;
  • purified water - 400 ml.

Preparation

Pour rice with liquid and cook over low heat. As soon as the level of rice is equal to the level of liquid, turn off the heat, cover the dish with a lid and let the rice stand. 30-40 minutes will be enough for the cereal to acquire the desired consistency.

Cut the tofu into small cubes, mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a separate saucepan until smooth. Dip the tofu cubes into the marinade. 40 minutes is enough for the marinade to completely soak the cheese and endow it with a special flavor and aroma palette.

Prepare the sauce: mash the coconut pulp (a blender will quickly and easily perform this manipulation), dilute with water, add crushed hot chili. Heat a frying pan (or other deep container) and pour the sauce into it, leave to evaporate for 10 minutes. Puree the raw tofu in a blender, add the still warm sauce and refrigerate for 60 minutes. After an hour, the sauce will thicken (it will be similar in texture to traditional mayonnaise) and soak in the flavors of each ingredient.

Reheat rice with soy sauce, Thai sauce and vinegar. If desired, you can enter a dark beer. Heat rice until sticky. Fry the tofu cubes in vegetable oil for 3-5 minutes. Presentation: spread coconut sauce on the bottom of the plate, put rice and tofu in the center. You can decorate the dish with your favorite herbs or vegetables.

Dangerous properties and contraindications

The harm of the product lies in phytic acid. In the process of absorption by the body, it binds nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Soy products are also recommended to be restricted in the diet of infants, pregnant and lactating women. There is an opinion that excessive consumption of tofu reduces libido and provokes erectile dysfunction in men.

It is forbidden to abuse cheese in diseases of the endocrine system. An excess of the components that make up its composition can provoke an exacerbation of current diseases.

If the soybean from which the cheese was made was grown in an ecologically polluted area, then it automatically becomes unfit for human consumption. All derivative food products, respectively, will also not bring benefits, but only harm health.

Sources
  1. ResearchGate social network for scientists. – Tofu: technological and nutritional potential.
  2. WebMD Internet resource. – Tofu.
  3. U. S. National library of medicine. – Soy consumption during menopause.
  4. Medical portal Medical News Today. – Everything you need to know about tofu.
  5. Nutrition chart Foodstruct.com. – Tofu nutrition, glycemic index, calories and serving size.
  6. Oncology nutrition. – Soy and breast cancer.
  7. Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. – Straight talk about soy.
  8. American Heart Association. – Soy-rich foods like tofu may help lower heart disease risk.
  9. Health website Healthline. – What is tofu, and is it good for you?
  10. Physicians committee for responsible medicine. – Soy and health.
  11. U. S. department of agriculture. – Tofu.
  12. NutritionValue.org. – Tofu, fried.
  13. Rogel Cancer Center. – Information about tofu.
  14. U. S. National library of medicine. – The science of soy: what do we really know?