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A Simple Definition of Tofu and How to Cook It

Surely many of you have heard of tofu which is also called bean curd. It’s low in calories and high in protein. Tofu has been a part of human history for more than 2,000 years.

5-Minute Crafts decided to find out how tofu is made and how to cook it properly.

What is tofu?

So, tofu is a curd made from soy milk. For a better understanding what it really is, let’s look at the process of its production.

There are 3 main stages:

  • the preparation of soy milk
  • the milk coagulation to form curds
  • the pressing of the curds to form tofu cakes

First, soybeans are soaked, crushed, and boiled. The resulting mixture is divided into pulp and liquid components — soy milk. Then substances that cause the milk to clot are added to it. For example, magnesium or calcium sulfates, and in some cases citric acid. Soy milk is poured into special molds to allow the carbohydrate-laden whey to drain off. The resulting mass is stored under water.

Types of tofu

Depending on how much water is pressed out of the tofu, there are several main types:

  • Silken tofu has the highest water content of all the types and has a soft, custardy texture. It’s good for creamy foods, like smoothies, desserts and sauces.
  • Medium tofu is denser than silken tofu, but still quite soft. It’s great for soups.
  • Firm tofu absorbs various flavors well. It can be deep-fried, pan-fried, or scrambled.
  • Extra-firm tofu holds its shape well and is suitable for slicing, dicing and all types of frying. It can also be baked, grilled, minced and, used like ground meat.

It’s important to remember that the denser the tofu is, the weaker its ability is to be infused with flavors.

How to cook tofu?

Tofu can be cooked in a variety of ways, depending on which type you have on hand.

Silken tofu is ready for consumption, you just need to drain off the excess water and you can eat it right away. Medium tofu can be fried, battered, or baked. Firm and extra-firm tofu can also be boiled or used as ground meat. Below is a recipe for how to make crispy tofu (from extra-firm tofu).

You’ll need:

  • 1 block of extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp of corn starch
  • olive oil
  • salt

Tools: cutting board, knife, baking sheet, baking parchment.

Press the tofu for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Then cut it into cubes. Put the tofu into a bowl and mix it with 1-2 tbsp of corn starch. Arrange tofu cubes on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at about 425ºF for about 25 minutes.

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