Tofu is a great mystery to the majority of the non-Asian world. It is also often labelled as "non-delicious, tasteless, yucky, health food". This is truly a tragedy. After living in Asia and experiencing the wonders of tofu, I want to persuade all you out there that tofu is....amazing, delicious, and yummy. Tofu products are an essential and delightful adding to Japanese healthy eating. It all depends on how you cook them. So...how to cook tofu is what we are here to master.
What is tofu?
Ok. First, what is tofu? Tofu is a bean curd made by coagulating soy milk. That`s it. No mysterious ingredients here...basically thickened soy milk. It is high in protein and low in calories. It has a very subtle flavor and can take on the tastes of the ingredients you combine it with. Marinating tofu before cooking it is a great flavor enhancing technique.
Tofu is used in both savory and sweet dishes. For example:
tofu stir fry
, tofu burgers, fried tofu, fresh tofu with marinade, and tofu rice pudding.There are many tofu products and varieties. Each one can add a different element or texture to your dish. There are essentially three basic types found internationally: Soft Tofu, Frim Tofu and Dried Tofu
Silken Tofu a.k.a Soft Tofu It`s called kinu goshi tofu in Japanese. This soft, undrained tofu has the consistency of pudding or custard. It is great to add to miso soup or eating fresh with soy sauce and sesame oil marinade.
Firm Tofu Known as, momen dofu in Japanese, it has the firmness of raw meat. This type of tofu is great for marinating, fried tofu recipes and tofu fried rice. My friend Mark can batter and cook them like chicken nuggets so well that his grandkids really do think they`re eating chicken!
Dried Tofu This is known as koya dofu in Japanese. You can buy them in packs. They are hard blocks of blocks or cubes. They must be soaked in water before eating. They are usually cooked in broth - one of my favorite simple meals when I lived in Japan. They have a spongy texture and mild flavor.