Tofu is that bean curd that you either swear by or have never tried out of fear. I remember a time when tofu was the butt of a joke, something that you wouldn’t eat if you were in the desert alone. But nowadays, that has changed.
Tofu is a wildly popular dish, and you can make a lot from it. Here, I will answer all there is to know about tofu, and much more. What is it? Can you eat tofu raw? When did it become popular?
Well, What Is Tofu?
If you’ve heard of tofu, you probably just know it’s a bean curd, and nothing else. What is it? How did it come to be?
It’s similar to how cheese is made. After the block forms, you get rid of the liquid and press it. It should make a solid bond.
Soya is an East Asian bean, and tofu itself come from China. According to folklore, a cook accidentally made it, but who knows the exact tale.
It became a dish all across Asia, and it didn’t get called Tofu until the 15th century. As for the US, we didn’t notice it until 50 years ago, when we became interested in tofu due to health reasons.
Tofu is indeed healthy, and versatile too! You can change its texture and make tons of different dishes out of it. It’s more than just a meat substitute.
I’ve cooked with tofu quite a few times, and when people come to eat my food, they’re surprised they’re eating tofu. Who knew that eating healthy could be delicious?
What Can Tofu Do for Me?
Tofu contains a lot of protein. Which makes sense, because it’s a meat substitute. Here are some other vitamins and minerals it contains.
- Essential amino acids
So, as you can see, it’s quite a superfood! It can help prevent some diseases, and it’s low in calories and carbs. For 100g, it typically contains only 70 calories and 1.5 carbs.
What Other Health Benefits Can I Receive?
You can possibly lower your bad cholesterol when you eat tofu, especially if you cut out some of the bad meats with it!
Tofu also contains chemicals that are similar to estrogen, and will emulate it in your body. This can have various effects, including:
- Reducing the chance of breast cancer.
- Reducing the symptoms of menopause.
Now, I’m not a doctor, but I can tell you that you should have a good diet and a healthy fitness as well. Tofu is great, but it’s not magic, and it should be a part of a healthy lifestyle.
How Do You Handle Tofu? Can You Eat Tofu Raw?
While you can eat it raw, there are a couple of things you should do before you eat tofu raw.
You should drain the water before eating, but you can eat tofu raw. Without water, the tofu tastes more like meat.
Also, you can replace the water with your own marinade, making it tastier than before. You just need to press it first.
If your tofu is soft, draining the water won’t keep its shape. Soft tofu is good for smoothies, while firmer tofus are the drainable kinds. Another way to eat tofu is also by pressing it.
So How Do You Press Tofu?
One way to do this is by freezing it. Keep it frozen overnight, and then thaw it out, putting it over the sink and pressing it. Any excess water should come out instantly, and you’ll find yourself some nice, drained tofu.
For some, this technique can be problematic, as it does alter the texture. Texture is subjective, so see if it’s to your liking!
If not, you can press it through different ways. For those on a budget, you can make yourself a genuine tofu press using household objects. Also, check this handy guide on how to press tofu with video and pictures.
You just need some paper towels or similar soaking items, something flat to put on top of the tofu, and then something heavy to press it down and drain the water.
Just wrap your tofu in those paper towels, put a flat object on the tofu, balancing it, and then put the heavy item on top of that.
Then, wait. It can take anywhere from half an hour to a few hours, depending on the heaviness of your object. Change paper towels if needed.
The only downside is that the tofu is thinner, but that can help get its flavor out! After a workout, I love using my dumbbells as a way to drain some tofu.
When you do press it, serve it right away, as it can lose its flavor pretty fast and expire.
If you think using household object to press tofu is silly, or want a little more quality, you can get yourself a tofu press, too. I invested in one, and let me tell you, it makes a difference in flavor.
Plus, it drains the water much better, too.
How Do I Store Tofu?
When you buy tofu, you can find it in packages that require refrigeration or don’t need it until opened. Once you open it, you can rinse it, soak it in water, put it in a container, and store it.
Change the water as often as you can to store it. You can also freeze tofu in its original package for about five months.
Catch me next time, when I’ll explain more about cooking tofu. What are some good ways to cook it? What recipes should I follow? All this and more I’ll answer!
Until then, try tofu if you haven’t, and tell your friends about its benefits.