Silly Food Fact
Did you know that tofu was discovered around 164 BC in China? It’s also known as “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 consistencies, 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, etc. The list goes on and on! Tofu is a true multitasker!
Why Our Bodies Love It
With its high protein content, tofu is often used as a staple for vegetarians. But meat eaters love this food, too! Tofu has superhero nutrients that have been proven to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, such as copper, potassium, manganese, vitamin B, and iron.
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 are generally 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’re 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 it’s usually necessary to remove this water before cooking. This typically takes about 30 minutes. All you need is a few paper towels and something moderately heavy (like a large dinner plate or soup can). Simply wrap a firm tofu block in paper towels and place your weighted object on top, so that it’s gently pressing down on the tofu. After the allotted time, your tofu will be dried and ready for cooking.
When frying or grilling tofu, try using a marinade to give it flavor. Just be careful, because too much oil in the marinade prevents flavors from penetrating the tofu. A good idea is to replace the oil with vinegar or soy sauce. The best part about cooked tofu are the leftovers! 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: how to cook using tofu.