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12 Apr 2010

Tofu Revisited


I  realized last week that I had not eaten tofu for at least a month. I wasn't avoiding it, I just didn't think to buy it. Time to correct that as it is a wonderful food for Vegans due to it containing all nine essential amino acids the body needs to build protein. In other words tofu a complete protein. It might not be as high quality protein as soy beans themselves but as part of a balanced Vegan diet it  will give us a good and inexpensive portion of our required daily protein (RDA +/- 50 grams).

Tofu, or bean curd as it is known in the East, originated in China over 2000 years ago. It only became popular in Japan around the 1600's and in the West as late as the 1960's. It is made from dried soybeans and comes two main styles, silken and firm. It is nutritious as it is an excellent source of tryptophan, a very good source of manganese, iron and protein, and a good source of calcium, omega_3, selenium, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium. A cup of tofu will give you approximately 20 grams of protein.

Healthwise tofu is low in saturated fat and studies indicate that regular intake of tofu and other soy products lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Tofu also contains isoflavones which act like a mild form of HRT and so help to relieve menopausal symptoms and assist with maintaining healthy bones. The iron in tofu with the assistance of the copper it contains aids oxygenation of the blood which in turn lifts energy levels. Tofu's selenium content helps reduce levels of  free radicals and also DNA repair.

Warning: Anyone allergic to soy beans will also be allergic tofu. Tofu also contains oxalates so those with existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating tofu regularly.

Storage of tofu depends on it's packaging. Long-life boxed silken tofu can be kept without refrigeration until expiry date or opening. Once opened should be refrigerated and used within a couple of days.  Refrigerated tofu can be kept in the fridge for a few weeks but once opened should be in a container filled with water and used within a few days. Change the water daily. Tofu can be frozen as well. Drain the water, wrap in freezer wrap or foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. The texture changes once frozen, it becomes spongy and chewy.

Tofu has very little flavour, so is easy to add to almost any dish whether sweet or savoury. One last point, make sure your tofu is made from organic soy beans and not GMO soy beans.  Enjoy!

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Tofu and Wild Mushrooms
From Weekday Vegetarian by Kelly Rossiter at Treehugger
Taken from the book Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen by Yuan Wang, Warren Sheir and Mika Ono

8 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 tbsp sesame oil
1" / 2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 green onions, cut into 1/4" / 1/2cm pieces, roots and tough tips discarded
1 package firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp powdered kudzu, arrowroot, cornstarch of other thickener
1 tbsp soy sauce, or to taste
1 tsp lemon juice, or to taste

Soak the shiitake mushrooms in 1 1/2 - 2 cups of water for 20 minutes, or until soft. Drain, reserving the liquid for later use. Cut off and discard the stem, if desired, and slice the remainder in 1/4 inch pieces. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 30 to 60 seconds, until fragrant. Add the shiitakes, green onions, and tofu. Add 1 cup of the mushroom liquid, cover and cook over medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning the tofu once, until the tofu is cooked through. In a small bowl, stir together the water and the kudzu until no lumps remain. Add the kudzu mixture and soy sauce to the tofu mixture and stir. Cook for another minute. Lemon juice to taste.

Scrambled Tofu
From FatFree.com   By Kate L Pugh
I think it's the dill and nutritional yeast that make this taste like eggs. I'm in the UK as well - I use Engevita nutritional yeast distributed by Marigold, from my local health food shop. I use Sainsbury's own-brand plain tofu - it's best if the tofu hasn't been frozen. ~ Kate

2 tbsp finely-chopped onion
vegetable stock to saute
1/2 pack / 150gms / 5oz plain tofu (not silken), grated
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/8 tsp garlic granules
1/4 tsp dried dill
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Using a non-stick pan, gently saute the onion in a little vegetable stock until softened but not browned. Add the tofu and stirfry for about another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the nutritional yeast, garlic granules and dill with    a few tbsp water to form a thinnish sauce. Season with plenty of salt and pepper. Add the sauce to the pan and stir and cook until the liquid is gone and the scrambled tofu is fairly dry. Serve on toast. Serves 1-2

Mini Coconut Cream Pies
From the Vegetarian Times    These little coconut pies are sturdy enough to travel in a lunch box or picnic basket.

1/3 cup sweet flake coconut
6 oz / 180gms soft silken tofu, drained
1/3 cup raw sugar
5 tbsps cornstarch
1 14oz / 390ml can light coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp coconut extract
6 mini Vegan graham cracker pie crusts

Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.  Spread coconut on baking sheet, and toast 5 minutes, shaking pan occasionally, or until golden. Blend tofu in blender or food processor 2 to 3 minutes, or until smooth. Set aside. Whisk together sugar and cornstarch in saucepan. Whisk in coconut milk, and cook over medium-high heat 8 minutes, or until thickened, whisking constantly. Remove pan from heat. Fold in tofu, vanilla and coconut extracts, and coconut. Divide among mini pie crusts, and chill.  Makes 6 pies.

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Related articles by Zemanta
Tofu, more tofu, test recipes at Seitan Is My Motor blog.
Potted Tofu at Notes from the Vegan Feast Kitchen blog.
Tofu Feta from My Veggie Kitchen blog.
Homemade Tofu Recipe at Vegan Food at Suite 101
Tofu 101: Kicking Off the T&T Challenge (trueslant.com)

6 comments:

Marion said...

I am not a fan of tofu, but I think it is because I haven't managed to find a good way to cook with it. I am going to try the mini coconut cream pies...they sound really good!

Mihl said...

I am a huge fan of tofu, especially smoked! I love to use silken tofu in cakes and ice cream, too. And regular firm tofu is also a great staple: marinated and baked or fried. Very delicious. Thanks for the great post and I like the new layout!

~Herban Chica~ said...

Hi,
thank you for leaving a comment. how wonderful to live in Africa... I would love to visit there and many other places.
I will have to try some of your wonderful tofu recipes, I am not vegan but know that there are some wonderful recipes to be found in vegan cook books, blogs and more. I am leaning for a paleolithic diet that more that I am learning. once I am finished and have my degree in nutrition, I will have a better idea which "diet" I feel is right for me. The "diet" I am on now is NO PROCESSED foods! fresh and organic when possible. Keep up the great posts! Carrie the Herbanchica!

Dirty Butter said...

Hi Jackie!! It's good to see your blogs are still going strong. I hope you are doing well, and here's a belated Happy Birthday! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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mikesac said...

Good to hear about the goodness of Tofu...it is a very essential portion of protein specially in vegan diet.

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