Soya beans with a difference: Introducing Tofu!
One thing is certain, tofu is hot right now! It has long been a staple ingredient for vegetarians and vegans alike. But now, it’s enticing even the biggest meat lovers, here’s why.
Tofu originally comes from Asia where it has been a staple for several thousands of years. The use of tofu has been traced back as far as the 8th century with buddhists eating tofu as a big part of their vegetarian diets! Today, however, tofu is produced in many European countries on a number of soya plantations, here.
No tofu without soy beans!
But how are the firm blocks of tofu made? The first step involves grinding soaked soybeans and water into a puree and then passing the mixture through a fine filter to separate the solid fibers and soymilk. The soy milk is massed together using natural coagulants, a process which produces solid soy protein and soybean whey. The soy protein is then pressed until it forms a block of tofu, and can be vacuum-packed and shipped off to the supermarket.
Storing and preparing tofu
Unprocessed tofu doesn’t really taste of much, but that's no bad thing, just think of it as a blank slate and let your creativity go wild, the flavour possibilities are endless! We recommend marinading your tofu before you cook it. Turn up the heat with intense herbs and spices such as ginger, curry, soy sauce or garlic and be generous with them! In terms of cooking it, tofu is really versatile. It can be baked, grilled and roasted, or as an ingredient in soups.
Along with the traditional tofu variety, there is also silk tofu, which is particularly soft and has a consistency similar to that of pudding. Smoked tofu, on the other hand, is quite firm with a fantastic smoky aroma.
Tofu should be stored in the fridge, in a tupperware box or resealable bag and covered with water. Just remember to dab it with a kitchen towel before you start cooking to get rid of excess moisture.
3 fun facts about tofu
1. Tofu features in an old Chinese proverb which says, "wise men feed on air, morning dew, and tofu."
2. Tofu has officially only been sold in Germany since 1989. Before that, the meat industry opposed its introduction with all of its strength and claimed that tofu was an imitation of milk and that therefore it broke the law.
3. Due to the fact that its production process is very similar to that of many dairy products tofu is often referred to as soybean curd or soy cheese.
Have you found a place for tofu in your kitchen yet?