-- Tofu, a staple of Japanese and Chinese cuisine, is now gaining
acceptance in American kitchens because of its high nutritional
value, low cost and flavor adaptability.
Go ahead, spice
up your life and reap the benefits of tofu.
Tofu is made
by processing soybeans into milk, which is then coagulated. The
curds are then placed in a perforated mold that is lined with cloth
and pressed with a weight to remove the liquid. The result is a
soft, creamy white substance similar to cheese.
Tofu is easy
to digest, very high in protein, with very little fat and sodium
and no cholesterol. Tofu is an ancient foodstuff, probably created
in China during the second century A.D. It was introduced to Japan
by Buddhist priests during the eighth century and was discovered
by western travelers during the 17th century.
tofu is said to be the finest, perhaps because of the superiority
of the soybeans grown in the Yamato region, near the city of Kyoto.
Tofu is a key element of Japanese cuisine because of its natural
flavor and texture and it is used in a variety of ways. Chinese
cuisine uses it as an additive, not as a principal ingredient. Tofu
may be eaten fresh, added to soup, broth or noodle dishes, tossed
in cold salads, grilled, deep fried or sautéed. Its flavor
is bland, but it readily absorbs flavors from other ingredients.
There are two
types of tofu widely available: cotton and silk. Cotton tofu is
the most common. Its texture is firm with an irregular surface caused
by the weave of the cotton fabric it is wrapped in for pressing.
Silk tofu has a silk smooth appearance and texture, and a somewhat
more delicate flavor. Unlike cotton tofu, the water has not been
pressed out of the silk tofu. Consequently, silk tofu should not
be cooked at high temperature, or for a long time, as it will fall
apart easily. The use of either type in most recipes is simply a
matter of personal preference.
is usually packaged in water. It should be refrigerated and kept
in water until used. If the water is drained and changed daily,
the tofu should last for one week. Tofu can be frozen for up to
three months. Freezing will change its texture however, making it
found their way into a variety of items we find on our grocers=
shelves. From soymilk to fresh soybeans known as AEdamame@ to the
Japanese, these versatile little beans are also ground into flour
and made into paste. One reason for this versatility is that the
bean itself is hard to digest, so they are usually processed into
sauces or into tofu. Many imitation meat dishes, which are the basis
of Buddhist vegetarian food, are based on the numerous forms of
bean curd. Bring a little something different to the dinner table
next time and spice up your life. Treat yourself and your family
to a meal that includes tofu -- a multipurpose, healthy alternative
to meat. Try the following tofu recipes and be daring.
1 lb. medium
2 t. salt
1 lb. broccoli, green beans or carrots
4 c. water
1 t. each salt and sugar
2 quarter size slices fresh ginger, crushed
1 T. each salad oil and dry sherry
4 T. salad oil
1/4 lb. mushrooms, quartered
1 t. dry sherry
2 t. sugar
in a colander and let drain for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare cooking
sauce and set aside. Cut tofu in domino shaped pieces, and place
between paper towels, gently pressing out excess water. Sprinkle
with half a teaspoon of salt and set aside. If you use broccoli,
cut off the flowerets and slash stems. Peel the thick stalks and
thinly slice. If you use green beans, remove the ends and strings,
cutting them into two inch long slanting slices. If you use carrots,
cut them into quarter inch thick slanting slices.
In a three
quart pan over medium heat, place water, the one teaspoon each of
salt and sugar, ginger and the one tablespoon each of oil and sherry.
Bring to a simmer.
Heat two tablespoons
of the salad oil in a wide frying pan over high heat. Add mushrooms
and cook, stirring until golden. Add sherry and the half a teaspoon
of sugar and cook until liquid evaporates; remove mushrooms and
set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining two tablespoons
of oil. Add tofu and cook until flecked with brown (about three
minutes on each side). Return mushrooms to the pan. Stir cooking
sauce, pouring into the pan and cook, stirring gently, until sauce
bubbles and thickens. Keep hot. Bring seasoned water to a boil.
Drop in vegetables. Cook until crisp tender (about four minutes).
Drain and then discard ginger. To serve, arrange vegetables around
edges of a serving platter. Pour tofu mixture into the center.
In a bowl, blend 2 c. vegetable stock (or broth), 2 T. soy
sauce, 1 T. sherry, 1 t. sugar, 2 t. cornstarch, and 1/4 t. sesame
AND TOFU SOUP
2 bunch spinach
3 c. chicken stock
1 T. light soy sauce
salt and ground black pepper
Cut the tofu into 12 small pieces, each about one fourth of an inch
thick. Wash the spinach leaves and cut them into small pieces. Bring
the stock to a rolling boil in a wok. Add the tofu and soy sauce.
Bring it back to a boil and simmer for about two minutes. Add the
spinach and simmer for another minute. Skim the surface to make
it clear, then adjust the seasoning and serve immediately.
2 c. white
2 c. firm tofu
1 egg yolk
2 T. rice flour or wheat flour
2 T. finely chopped green onion, green part only
3/4 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
2 t. light soy sauce
oil for frying
2 oz. daikon radish, very finely shredded
2 c. vegetable broth
1 T. sugar
much moisture as you can out of the crabmeat. Press the tofu through
a fine sieve with the back of a tablespoon. Combine the tofu and
the crabmeat in a bowl. Add the egg yolk, rice or wheat flour, scallion,
ginger and soy sauce. Season to taste with the salt. Combine all
to form a light paste.
To make the
dipping sauce, combine the broth, sugar and soy sauce in a serving
bowl. Line a tray with paper towels. Heat the oil in a wok or frying
pan to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, shape the crab and tofu mixture into
thumb-size pieces. Fry in batches of three at a time for one to
two minutes. Drain on the paper towels and serve with the sauce
Lewis is lead instructor of the Southern Miss Gulf Coast Culinary
Arts Academy. For information on the Southern MissGC Culinary Arts
Academy, call (228) 214 3240. For recipe and story requests, culinary
questions or comments, e-mail Chef Pam at firstname.lastname@example.org or
write to her at
Lewis, Culinary Arts AcademySpice up your life - tofu
The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast
730 East Beach Blvd.
Long Beach, MS 39560