What is Tofu?

Posted · 25th July 2017
Cauldron Foods Organic Tofu Pieces
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Cauldron Foods Organic Tofu

Tofu is fast becoming recognised across the globe as an extremely versatile food, an excellent source of protein and a provider of many different health benefits. Here, we give you the detailed low-down on why so many people love it, what tofu is made from, how to prepare tofu, how to cook with tofu and how to store tofu, along with some of the many health benefits associated with eating tofu. We’ve also given you some quick and easy recipe ideas for how you can best use tofu to soak up lots of exciting flavours with some of our favourite Asian-inspired dishes.

Organic Tofu
Where does tofu come from?

Where does tofu come from?

Tofu is a simple-to-prepare, versatile and nourishing soya food, used as a key ingredient in a wide number of tasty recipes. The origins of tofu date back to China over a thousand years ago – it’s been a major component in East Asian and South East Asian cuisine ever since. The English word “tofu” actually comes directly from the Japanese term, itself borrowed from the original Mandarin word “doufu”, which literally means “bean” plus “curdled” or “fermented”.

How is tofu made?

Tofu is made by soaking soybeans and extracting their milk. The fresh soya milk is then curdled, pressed into a solid block and cooled – a very similar method to producing dairy cheese. The tofu is then cut into smaller blocks and packaged along with water. Once it has been sealed, weighed and dated, it’s ready for the supermarket.

tofu is versatile

Health benefits of tofu

Cauldron tofu is an excellent source of protein, calcium and iron, all of which are key to living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Our organic tofu block is also low in saturated fat, making it ideal for foodies, vegetarians and vegans alike. The great thing about tofu is it contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. What more could you ask for?

Top tips for cooking with tofu

Tofu is a really versatile ingredient, best known for its amazing ability to absorb the flavours of the sauces, spices and marinades it’s paired with. Try slicing, marinating and grilling your tofu, or chop it into small pieces and fry until golden. However you decide to cook tofu, it’s delicious!

How To Prepare Tofu

Depending on your recipe, you may need to drain and press your tofu before cooking with it. If you’re planning on making a stir-fry dish, you’ll want the tofu to be as firm as you possible so it holds together better when frying. It will also make it easier for the tofu to absorb all the lovely flavours you are adding to your dish.

To prepare, we recommend pressing the tofu for 10 to 20 minutes – the longer you can press it for, the firmer the texture of your tofu will be. Remember to use plenty of layers of kitchen roll to soak up the water!

It’s a simple process – follow our step-by-step guide or watch the video below. The video also shows you how easy it is to marinate your prepared tofu, and how to store for another day.

Tofu: A Taste of the East

Now you know a little bit more about tofu, it’s time to start experimenting! Tofu is the ideal jumping off point for a number of Asia’s finest cuisines, so here are two of our favourite Asian-inspired tofu recipes for you to get started with.

Sweet Ginger Tofu Ramen Noodles

A simple but tasty recipe idea with an authentic Japanese flavour. Low in saturated fat and ready in 15 minutes, it’s ideal as a super healthy mid-week meal.

Sweet Ginger Tofu served in a bowl

What’s more, our Sweet Ginger Tofu brings a fresh and lively ginger and soy flavour to this simple, healthy noodle broth.

Ingredients

• 1 block of Cauldron Sweet Ginger Tofu, cut into strips approximately 1 cm thick, reserve marinade when draining
• 1 litre vegetable bouillon
• 1 tbsp miso paste
• 300g ramen noodles
• 4 tbsp sweetcorn kernels
• 2 handfuls of beansprouts
• ½ red onion, finely sliced
• 2 handfuls of spinach
• 2 red chillies, finely sliced
• Bunch of fresh coriander, chopped

Method

Heat the vegetable bouillon in a large pan and add the marinade from the Cauldron Sweet Ginger Tofu, the miso paste, noodles, sweetcorn kernels, bean sprouts and onion. Cook for 2 minutes and then stir in the tofu.

Cook for a further 2 minutes until warmed through. Add the spinach just before serving and garnish with sliced red chillies and fresh coriander.

Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Fried Tofu in Chinese Sesame Soy Sauce

A quick and authentic Chinese recipe. Based on the Japanese Agedashi tofu, this version uses Chinese-style tofu dressed in Chinese style sesame soy sauce. Easy to make, this dish is perfect as a starter, especially around Chinese New Year.

Cauldron Tofu served on a plate

Ingredients

• 250g Cauldron Foods Organic Tofu, drained well, cut into 2cm x 2cm cubes
• Glutinous rice flour for dusting (or potato starch or cornflour)
• 250ml groundnut oil

For the sauce

• 6 tbsp
• Light soy sauce
• 4 tbsp mirin
• 1 tsp caster sugar

For the garnish

• 1 tsp toasted white
• Sesame seeds
• 1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
• 1 small sheet of dried nori, Japanese seaweed, sliced
• 1-2 sprigs of coriander

Method

1. Dip the tofu cubes into the glutinous rice flour, making sure each one is well coated. Dust off any excess and place on a plate.

2. Warm your wok over a high heat and add the groundnut oil.

3. Heat the oil to 180°C, or until a cube of bread fries golden and floats to the surface in just 10 seconds.

4. Shallow fry the tofu cubes, in batches if necessary. Turn them over to ensure all the sides are golden, then soak up the excess oil on absorbent kitchen paper.

5. Add together all the sauce ingredients making sure the sugar has dissolved. Place the tofu pieces on a serving plate, dress with the sauce, then garnish with chilli, toasted sesame seeds and nori pieces, plus a sprig of coriander. Serve immediately. Delicious!

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