Of late, soy products, like tofu, are fast gaining popularity. Tofu is made by curdling soy milk, and so, it is also known as bean curd. It is bland in taste, and resembles cheese in looks. Due to its bland taste, tofu can absorb different flavors, and so it is used for preparing a whole lot of recipes. The method of preparation of tofu is almost similar to that of cheese.
How is Tofu Made
In order to prepare tofu, soy beans (dried or fresh) is soaked overnight. Once done, the beans are ground to a paste, along with some water. This paste is cooked before straining, and the resultant soy milk is curdled using coagulants, like magnesium chloride. The curd is then pressed to form soft blocks, and the whey is discarded. These soft blocks are called tofu, which is available in different types.
Tofu can be cooked in different ways. It can be steamed, stir fried, grilled, baked, sauteed, and can be added to soups and salads. However, you must have a basic understanding about the different tofu types, before using it in a particular recipe. In countries, like China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, and Vietnam, you may find different varieties of tofu. It has to be noted that the calories in tofu may vary with the types.
Basically, tofu is available in three types - silken, soft, and firm. The silken tofu is a type with the maximum water content. It is a creamy version of tofu, which can be compared to fine custard. Silken tofu is perfect for blending purposes, as in soups, dips, and spreads. You may even replace cream cheese with silken tofu, in cheesecakes. As compared to silken tofu, soft tofu is slightly firm. The consistency of soft tofu can be compared to that of Jello. When compared to the other two types, the firm tofu is widely available, and is commonly used.
The firm tofu is not soft, and is able to maintain its shape. Firm tofu can be baked, grilled, stir fried, scrambled, pickled, and smoked. Even extra firm tofu is available in the market. This type of tofu, with the least water content, is firm, and has a meaty texture. It can be used in stews and casseroles. You may find other tofu types, like fried ones, sun-dried ones, flavored tofu, and fermented tofu.
This was a brief overview about what is tofu made of, and what are its different types. So, why wait? Try the different tofu recipes, and enjoy the goodness of this soy product. However, make sure to use the right type of tofu for different recipes.