Let’s get to know tofu a little bit more. Who loves it and who hates it? Have you eaten it? What is your opinion about tofu? Let me tell you what mine was.
I was averse of tofu because of GMO. GMO stands for genetically modified organism that is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Organisms that have been genetically modified include micro-organisms such as bacteria and yeast, plants, fish, and mammals. GMOs are the source of genetically modified foods, and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce goods other than food.
Soybean is very popular to be genetically modified. That’s why I didn’t want to eat tofu. Then I found out that GMO seeds are illegal in Hungary. “Hungary was among the first to say no to including genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agricultural production, and this situation has not changed: the country must remain GMO-free” – said the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development. So I thought I would give tofu a chance. I found organic Hungarian ones in stores and my tofu experience started.
Tofu, also called bean curd, is a food made by coagulating soy juice and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. It is a component in many East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines. There are many different varieties of tofu, including fresh tofu and tofu that has been processed in some way. Tofu has a subtle flavor and can be used in savory and sweet dishes. It is often seasoned or marinated to suit the dish. Tofu has a low calorie count, relatively large amounts of protein, and little fat. It is high in iron and, depending on the coagulant used in manufacturing, may also be high in calcium and/or magnesium. It is also rich in vitamin B1 and B2.
Varieties of tofu
Soft/silken tofu (fresh)
Soft/silken tofu is undrained, unpressed tofu that contains the highest moisture content of all fresh tofus. Silken tofu is produced by coagulating soy milk without curdling it. Because of its softness it is good to make vegan puddings, cakes, pies. Grams of protein per 85 grams (3-ounce) serving is 4-5 grams. I haven’t used it yet but I’m planning to make one of the vegan pies so I’ll definitely try it.
Medium and firm tofu (fresh)
Both are very similar only the firm is harder. This form of fresh tofu still contains a great amount of moisture. It has the firmness of raw meat but bounces back readily when pressed. The curds are visible. The medium can be eaten chilled, simmered in broth or braised in sauce. Firm tofu is perfect for roasting, deep-frying and stuffing. You can also find extra firm tofu in stores. When it is sliced thinly, this tofu can be crumbled easily. Grams of protein per 85 grams (3-ounce) serving is 6-14 grams. I mostly use firm tofu.
Dried tofu (fresh)
Kind of extra firm tofu where a large amount of liquid has been pressed out of the tofu. One variety of dried tofu is pressed especially flat and sliced into long strings with a cross section smaller than 2 mm × 2 mm. I haven’t used it yet.
Fried tofu (processed)
Tofus such as firm Asian and dòu gān (Chinese dry tofu), with their lower moisture content, are cut into bite-sized cubes or triangles and deep fried until they develop a golden-brown, crispy surface. These may be eaten on their own or with a light sauce, or further cooked in liquids; they are also added to hot pot dishes
Fermented and stinky tofu (processed)
Cubes of tofu are fermented in a brine of salt, rice wine and water (or a unique mixture of whole rice, bean paste, and soybeans) – it gives a rich creaminess and deep savory flavor. Fermented tofu is not eaten alone, rather it is used as an umami-rich seasoning or condiment. Stinky tofu is a soft one that has been fermented in a unique vegetable and fish brine. The blocks of tofu smell strongly of certain pungent cheeses, and are described by many as rotten and fecal.
Flavored tofu (processed)
Flavors can be mixed directly into curdling soy milk while the tofu is being produced. Sweet: in order to produce these forms of tofu, sugar, fruit acids, and flavorants are mixed into soy milk prior to curdling. Most sweet tofus have the texture of silken tofu and are served cold. Savory: egg tofu is the main type of savory flavored tofu. Whole beaten eggs are filtered and incorporated into the soy milk before the coagulant is added. This tofu has a fuller texture and flavor than silken tofu, which can be attributed to the presence of egg fat and protein.
Tofu production creates some edible byproducts (tofu skin, okara). Food products are made from the protein-oil film, or “skin,” which forms over the surface of boiling soy milk in an open shallow pan. The leftover solids from pressing soy milk are called okara.
How to press tofu
Pressing tofu takes out the unnecessary water from it and makes it firm. Pressed tofu becomes wonderfully dense and pleasantly chewy when cooked. To press tofu you will need paper towel, kitchen cloth and a few cookbooks (or something else heavy). 🙂
1. Wrap one layer of paper towel over the tofu.
2. Wrap another layer of paper towel over the tofu.
3. Do the same with a kitchen cloth. Wrap the tofu firmly.
4. Put cookbooks (or anything heavy) over the tofu parcel. Let the tofu sit like this for 20-60 minutes (it depends how much time we have). The weights will help to press out the unnecessary water out of the tofu and the paper towels and kitchen cloth will absorb it. In the meantime you can read cookbooks 🙂 or prepare the other ingredients for the meal you will cook.
5. Cut the tofu into small cubes (or any other shape you would like) and cook/bake something delicious with it!
I hope you like this tutorial. The main thing is that tofu is not only for vegetarians and vegans. You can make so many mouthwatering meals from it. If tofu is seasoned well, any meal from it turned out amazing. I wouldn’t thought that I would love tofu one day. I encourage you to try it.
Give a chance to tofu!