Silly Food Fact
Hmmm… what do you do with a food with no taste and a funny texture? Did you know that Tofu was discovered around 164 BC in China? It’s also called bean curd and is made from the curds of soy milk. These curds are pressed into soft white blocks. It comes in a variety of textures and constancies and because of that, little cooks can be very creative when using it in their recipes! Marinate the tofu and grill it; use it as a creamy thickener for smoothies; cube and coat it for “chicken” nuggets. Tofu is a true multitasker!
Why Our Bodies Love It
With its high protein content, tofu is often used as a staple for vegetarians. Tofu has superhero nutrients that have been proven to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Some of those nutrients are calcium, manganese, and iron. As a bonus, tofu is low in fat and calories. Although soft tofu has less fat than the firmer varieties, plain tofu still have the same nutrients.
Care and Picking
Silken, soft, firm, extra-firm … how do you know which type of tofu to choose? While these are all made from the same ingredients, they are processed somewhat differently and generally are not interchangeable in recipes. If you want the tofu to hold its shape, pick firm or extra-firm. This is ideal for stir frying, grilling, and broiling. If you are making a spread, baking a dessert, or blending into a soup, go with the silken or softer tofu.
Tips and Warnings
Tofu comes packed in water, and when you squeeze out this water, new flavors can permeate. Simply wrap a firm tofu block in paper towels and press down (try a plate with a couple soup cans on top for weight). When frying or grilling tofu, try using a marinade to give it flavor. Just be careful, too much oil in the marinade prevents flavors from penetrating the tofu, so replace oil with extra vinegar or soy sauce. The best part: leftover tofu can be frozen and when that happens, the texture will become more porous; when crumbled, it resembles ground beef.
Cooking with tofu can sometimes be tricky, so before you get started, check out this video showing how to cook using tofu.