Tofu: what it is, benefits and recipes

Tofu: what it is, benefits and recipes

It is known to be the star ally of vegetarians. Taste is not its strong point, as on its own it does not taste of anything in particular. However, neutrality is the secret of its versatility in the kitchen. It is also one of the most widely consumed vegetable alternatives in the world due to its many properties. Still don’t know what it is? Well, we are talking about tofu, the vegetable protein par excellence.

Although it may seem like a modern, 21st century food, the truth is that tofu has been part of Asian cuisine for more than 2,000 years. It is an ingredient that can be used to create endless possibilities, from burgers, stews, stir-fries, sauces… even desserts! The problem is that its bland taste is not very appealing at first glance and it can sometimes be difficult to cook it so that it tastes like “something”. If you haven’t yet learned how to get the most out of this vegetable product, don’t worry, the battle is not yet lost. Starting today, you’ll learn how to prepare tofu to make mouth-wateringly tasty dishes.

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What is tofu?

Tofu is a vegetable protein made from soya beans, water and a coagulant. Thanks to this last ingredient, tofu can acquire different textures, from firmer to softer. Moreover, its appearance and preparation is quite similar to that of cheese, which is why tofu is considered to be curdled soymilk.

To make tofu, soybeans are first soaked in water and then boiled, as is done with other legumes such as chickpeas. The soybeans are then crushed and all the water is removed, resulting in soya milk. The coagulant is then added to the milk. Depending on how much water is drained from the soybeans and how much coagulant is added, the tofu will have different firmnesses. If you are not familiar with the different textures and shapes of tofu, here is a quick mini-guide to the most common varieties.

Benefits of tofu

Tofu is a food rich in vegetable protein as it is derived from a legume, soya. As we have already mentioned, tofu is a basic ingredient in vegetarian or vegan diets as a source of protein, this is because the protein it provides is complete, i.e. it provides your body with the essential amino acids. However, tofu is also rich in calcium, fibre and iron. A normal serving covers 35% of the body’s iron and calcium needs. Because it has so many properties, tofu is a highly revered and health-promoting ingredient. Consuming tofu has a number of positive effects on the body, including the following:

Consuming vegetable protein such as tofu reduces the risk of some diseases such as diabetes or bone diseases due to its calcium.
It contains almost no fat, making it a healthy and light ingredient to add to any type of diet.
Its high levels of calcium reduce the risk of kidney stones. In addition, its vitamins and minerals (iron, phosphorus and potassium) prevent diseases such as anaemia, promote memory function, and reduce hypertension and fluid retention.
It is much better digested compared to other animal proteins, so it is a good choice for people with digestive problems or for those who do not like to suffer from heavy digestions.
Because it is low in fat and contains many vitamins, it helps to reduce cholesterol and also helps against heart disease.
Tofu contains phytoestrogens, specifically isoflavones, which are similar in structure to oestrogens. It is therefore recommended to consume tofu during the menopause to help hormonal balance as there is a great hormonal imbalance that takes place during this stage.

Buy tofu: on its own and in cooked dishes

In our online shop, or in our Barcelona shop, you will find many products made with tofu, either on its own or cooked or made with this ingredient. These are some of them:

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Recipes with tofu

Tofu teryaki

– 1/4 cup soy sauce
– 1 teaspoon grated ginger
– 1 teaspoon grated garlic
– 1 teaspoon tahini (peanut butter can be substituted for the tahini)
– 3 tablespoons piloncillo honey (you can use brown sugar, agave, maple or sweetener of choice)
– 1 block of firm tofu (about 315 g).

How to cook tasty tofu

Find out how to cook tofu and get a very tasty flavour in your vegetarian dish.