Tofu is one of the best allies of vegetarians. Made with curdled soy milk, rich in protein and calcium, tofu is a versatile food. Braised, smoked, marinated, in a burger or a chocolate cake … Discover our tips and recipes for cooking tofu.
Tofu was a very important food in ancient China, then in Japan where it was introduced around 800 by Buddhist priests. Then it becomesafood essential in Asian cuisine. Used in Europe since the beginning of the 20th century, it has not yet found the same popularity there. However, its advantages are many.
What is tofu?
Tofu, called “doufu” in China, its country of origin, is a food of Chinese origin, derived from soy. It is a white, soft, flexible paste that has little odor and a rather neutral taste.
Its production process is relatively simple: it starts by hydrating the still dry soybeans, then it is ground into a paste that is heated, filtered, coagulated (thanks to the magnesium chloride collected from seawater) and pressed. Then, before hitting the supermarket shelves, it is pasteurized. Its design is often compared to that of cheese, which is why some call it “soy cheese”.
Tofu is an important staple of the Asian diet for several centuries.
Firm and Silky Tofu: What’s the Difference?
There are two types of tofu, the tofu and the firm tofuwhich have a different texture.
- the tofu it is neither drained nor pressed, therefore it is more tender, creamy, with a consistency between cream and yogurt. It will be used mostly in miso soups or sweets;
- the firm tofu it is pressed, so it contains less water and keeps its shape better. It is easier to cook because it can be sliced and handled more easily.
What are the benefits of tofu?
Tofu is a healthy food with great nutritional value and beneficial for cardiovascular health. Free of cholesterol, it provides unsaturated fatty acids (which help reduce the level of bad cholesterol).
The benefits of tofu: a 100% vegetable source of protein and iron
The tofu contains a good deal of vegetable proteins. These macronutrients are essential for the body. Indeed, proteins are involved renewal of cells, muscle tissues, bones and skin. They play numerous metabolic roles, in particular in the defense of the immune system and in the production of hormones. For all these reasons, athletes have a vested interest in having a high-protein diet. Adult vegans are also recommended to pay particular attention to their protein-energy intake, as they do not consume animal proteins. Tofu is the perfect food for this type of diet.
Tofu also containsiron of vegetable origin, however, somewhat less assimilated than heme iron of animal origin. Iron is necessary for the body as it promotes blood oxygenation of cells and muscles. It is essential proper functioning of the immune system.
How many calories does tofu have?
- Firm tofu is moderately caloric (143 kcal per 100 g) ;
- Silky tofu is lower in calories due to its water content (52 kcal per 100 g).
In short, it is the ideal ally for a healthy and balanced diet.
Soy and Breast Cancer
Soy contains phytoestrogens, these molecules that resemble estrogen, a female hormone synthesized by the human body, and that they could increase the risk of breast cancer. While some scientists advise against its consumption, others praise its protective effects, on the contrary. Currently, an international collective expert report published in 2018 concludes that the relationship between soy and breast cancer is not proven (Source 1).
Where to find and buy tofu?
You can find tofu almost everywhere: most of the time in the organic section of supermarkets, in the fresh vegetarian section, in Asian and Japanese grocery stores … You will surely find it in an organic shop. You can also buy it online, in organic or Asian e-shops.
If its taste is a little blandits porous consistency allows it to take on the flavor of others food. Soy sauce is often used in its cooking, as well as air, onions or even sweet spices.
Tofu can therefore be added to many recipes and comes in various forms and cooking methods:
- Marinated tofu : to give it more flavor. Add the soy sauce, spices, onions, garlic, ginger, herbs …;
- Fried tofu : crumbled in a pan, this is called scrambled tofu, which you can season to taste;
- Stir-fried tofu: cut into cubes and cooked with a little olive oil, it goes perfectly with your sautéed dishes;
- Braised or fried tofu: in the wok or deep fryer, for a gourmet recipe accompanied by small vegetables;
- Breaded tofu: often in the form of sticks or strips covered with breadcrumbs;
- Simple Tofu: replace meat or in salads in the form of cubes;
- Fermented tofu : air dried, this type of tofu is similar to cheese. Its slightly acidic flavor is much more pronounced than that of classic tofu. It can be added to sauces to thicken them, or to dishes as a spice;
- Baked silk tofu : in a dessert cream, a flan, a cake, a bechamel or as a substitute for cow’s milk …
How to store still tofu?
When it started, put the hard-boiled tofu in an airtight container and cover it with water. Silky tofu does not keep for more than three days in a sealed container.
If you don’t know how to make tofu, here are 3 recipes that should inspire you.
The veggie burger
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Ingredients for 4 people:
Sandwiches with 4 seeds
4 soy balls
1 clove of garlic
4 spring onions
Fry the tofu balls in a pan with a drizzle of oil. Peel and cut the carrots into rings. Cook them in a pot of water until tender. Remove the skin and the avocado pit. In a bowl, mash the avocados and carrots. Add the minced garlic clove, the lemon juice and the spring onions cut into thin slices. Add some coriander leaves. Salt and pepper. Shape into avocado and carrot balls. Toast the sandwiches. Cut them in half and spread a little mustard. Arrange the tofu balls, the carrot and avocado mixture and close.
Crispy vegetables with tofu
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ingredients for 4 people:
1 block of smoked tofu
1 small broccoli
200 g of peas
Cut the heads of the broccoli and dice the peppers. Heat some sunflower oil in a wok. Add the vegetables and diced tofu. Add some chopped ginger and some coriander leaves. Stir and add a pinch of sesame oil.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
150 g of dark chocolate
50 g of brown sugar
250 g of silken tofu
25cl of soy milk
60 g of cocoa powder
12cl of maple syrup
1 sachet of baking powder
1 pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 180 ° C. In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and cocoa. Add the melted chocolate in a double boiler. Mix the soy milk, tofu, maple syrup and vanilla. Add to previous preparation. Mix well. Pour the dough into a cake pan. Cook for 40 minutes.