What is Tofu?

April 26th, 2011
by Bernard Kinsella

In a few words…Also known as soybean curd and bean curd, custard like white tofu is made from curdled SOY MILK, an iron-rich liquid extracted from ground, cooked SOYBEANS. The resulting curds are drained and pressed in a fashion similar to cheese making. The firmness of the resulting tofu cake depends on how much WHEY has been pressed out. It has a bland, slightly nutty flavor that gives it a chameleon like capability to take on the flavor of the food with which it’s cooked. Tofu’s texture is smooth and creamy yet it’s firm enough to slice. It’s available in health-food stores, Asian markets and many supermarkets. The cakes are sold in a variety of forms including packaged in water, vacuum-packed and in bulk (usually in large crocks or jars of water). Tofu, which is sometimes fortified with calcium, is very perishable and should be refrigerated for no more than a week. If it’s packaged in water, drain it and cover with fresh water. All tofu should be stored covered with water, which should be changed daily. Tofu can be frozen up to 3 months. Freezing will change its texture, making it slightly chewier. The versatile tofu can be sliced, diced or mashed and used in a variety of dishes including soups, STIR-FRIES, casseroles, salads, sandwiches, salad dressings and sauces. It’s easy to digest, low in calories, calcium and sodium, high in protein and cholesterol-freeall of which makes it one of today’s most healthful foods! From the food dictionary @  

And in other words, I think it’s easy to prepare, inexpensive and as stated above quite versatile. The unfortunate issue is that most people don’t really give it a try. Those I speak to about tofu will say “I have had it in a stir fry”, but that’s about it. You would think with all the goodness packaged into these white cube’s of multiple textures (silken, soft, firm or extra firm) blocks, they be flying off the shelf. I hear advertisements on the radio for the WIC program which supports the purchase of Tofu. I’m curious to know how many enrollees purchase tofu in their quest to eat healthier. A recipe I’ve played with most recently using tofu is in a dessert which is really nice, I hope you give it a try and if your already using tofu let us know how you do?

Thanks and Ciao….Bernard Kinsella  

Low Fat Chocolate Mousse                                                                           Serves 6

1 package (12.3 ounce) of silken tofu, drained
1 bar (3.5 to 4 ounces) high quality bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao) Ghirardelli’s pcs
1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1⁄4 cup water
1 tbsp brandy or 1⁄2 tbsp vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup sugar
2 cups strawberries, washed and sliced (optional) for garnish

1. In a food processor, puree the tofu until extremely smooth. It should be the consistency of yogurt.

2. In a bowl set over simmering water, add in 3 ounces of chocolate, the cocoa powder, water, and brandy. Stir together until just melted and smooth. Remove from heat and slowly add in the sugar, stirring until smooth.

3. Add the chocolate mixture to the tofu and blend together. Pour into a serving bowl or individual ramekins and refrigerate at least one hour.

Garnish with sliced strawberries


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