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What is tofu?

You may have seen that tofu is rapidly becoming globally recognised as a super-food due to its health benefits. Here, we give you the low-down on why so many people swear by it, with some quick and easy inspiration for how you can best use yours to add some Indonesian flavours to your cooking.

  • Firstly, what is tofu?

    Tofu is a simple-to-prepare, nourishing soya food that can be used as a key ingredient in a number of tasty recipes.
    The origins of tofu stretch back to China over a thousand years ago and has been a key component in East Asian and South East Asian cuisine ever since. To this day, tofu is viewed as a common food that is both nourishing and inexpensive and can be enjoyed by all.

    How is tofu made?

    Tofu is made first by curdling fresh soya milk. It’s then pressed into a solid block and cooled – a very similar method to the producing dairy cheese. It’s produced with significantly less processing than most soy burgers and low-fat soy milk and is much closer to a “whole foods” category than soy protein concentrates.

    Cauldron tofu is an excellent source of protein, calcium and iron
  • Cauldron tofu is an excellent source of protein, calcium and iron

    A healthy food option

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

    How best to use your tofu

    Tofu is a versatile ingredient, which is known for its amazing ability to absorb the flavours of the sauces, spices and marinades it’s paired with. Try slicing, marinating and grilling or even chopping it up into small pieces and frying until golden.

  • Top tip – preparing tofu

    Depending on your recipe, you may need to drain and press your tofu. If you are making a stir-fry dish you want the tofu to be as firm as you can so it holds together better when frying and makes 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 between 10 – 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 in the video below… The video also shows you how easy it is to marinate your prepared tofu, and how to store for another day.

    A taste of the Orient

    Now you know more about tofu, it’s time to start experimenting!
    Tofu is the ideal starting point for a number of Asia’s finest cuisines. Here are two of our favourite tofu recipes for you to try out, straight from the heart of Indonesia – we’d love to see your creations, so why not share them on our Facebook page?

  • Miso Soup

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


    • 250g Cauldron Tofu, cut into small cubes
    • 4tbsp Tamari (Japanese) soy sauce
    • 4 tbsp rice wine
    • 2 litres vegetable stock
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 4cm piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
    • 1/2-1 red chilli, finely chopped
    • 50g Sharwood’s dried fine egg noodles
    • 1 medium carrot, sliced into thin matchsticks
    • 1 medium courgette, sliced into fine matchsticks.
    • 4 spring onions, sliced into fine matchsticks,
    • 2 level tsp miso paste

    Cauldron tofu is an excellent source of protein, calcium and iron
  • Method

    Drain the tofu and cut into small cubes. Mix the soy sauce and rice wine and pour over the cubed tofu. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

    Put the stock, garlic, ginger and chilli into a large saucepan and simmer for 2-3 minutes then add the tofu with the remaining marinade to the saucepan and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes.

    Add the dried noodles and simmer for 5 minutes then stir in the carrot, courgette, spring onion and miso paste and heat for a final 2-3 minutes without allowing the soup to boil.
    For added minerals, serve garnished with shredded Japanese seaweed such as Hijiki or Nori.

  • Fried Tofu in Chinese Sesame Soy Sauce

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

  • Cauldron tofu is an excellent source of protein, calcium and iron


    •250g Cauldron Original Tofu, drained well, cut into 2cm squares
    •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, finely sliced
    •1-2 sprigs of coriander

  • Method

    Dip the tofu cubes into the glutinous rice flour making sure each one is well coated and dust off any excess. Place on a plate.

    Heat wok over high heat and add the groundnut oil. Heat the oil to 180C or until a cube of bread fries golden and floats to the surface in just 10 seconds. Shallow fry the tofu cubes, in batches if necessary. Turn them over to ensure all the sides are golden. Then drain the excess oil on absorbent kitchen paper.

    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 the chilli, toasted sesame seeds and nori pieces and a sprig of coriander. Serve immediately – delicious.

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