Bean curd, popularly known as Tofu, is prepared by coagulating soy milk. Coagulating is the process of curdling the soy milk and then making solid blocks of the curds. Wide varieties of tofu are prepared, and it has a smooth texture. It has been part of Chinese cuisine for about 2000 years and is also used in other South Asian countries like Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Korea. The spongy and soft tofu is used in various dishes and blends well with almost all kinds of recipes. Traditional soy products like miso and tempeh are well known for their nutritional value.
Tofu: Preparation, Nutrition & More
There are different types of tofu as per texture or softness. In some recipes which need frying or grilling, firm or denser tofu is used. Soft tofu is used in recipes like soups. For dips and puddings or smoothies which need blending, silky tofu is used. It is an integral part of Chinese and South Asian cuisine and is also used as a meat substitute, apart from vegan protein foods.
Tofu is a good source of plant-based protein with low calories. It is also a good source of calcium, iron, and magnesium, which helps strengthen bones. Calcium and magnesium levels depend on the coagulants used during the making or manufacturing tofu. Soybeans are the main component of tofu which is high in omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid and healthy polyunsaturated fats.
A block of Tofu weighing 122 grams contains
- Plant protein
Since it is an entirely plant-based product, it is suitable for vegans. It is a good product for plant protein and easy to digest. It improves immunity and is a good source of all nine amino acids.
Tofu comes from soybeans which contain isoflavones which are potent antioxidants. Isoflavones have multiple health benefits like protection against cancer, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular diseases as well.
- Helps support heart health
The presence of isoflavones in tofu helps reduce cholesterol levels when consumed regularly. Tofu is a good fiber source and phytochemicals, lowering the risk of heart disease and helping reduce bad cholesterol or Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL).
- Blood sugar support
As per a study in 2020, it was observed that regular consumption of tofu helps protect against type 2 diabetes. Again, it was seen that consumption of soy protein for six weeks by women who have gestational diabetes lowered blood sugar more than those who didn’t consume it. More studies are going on to clarify the effect of tofu or soy products on diabetic patients.
The antioxidant properties or the presence of isoflavone(genistein) in soy may suppress or control cancer cells growth. It is seen as effective in breast cancer and recommended for breast cancer patients in
moderate quantity. A certain amount of soy product consumption showed that it did not affect tumor growth or cancer risk. More research continues on genistein absorption in the body and therapeutical uses.
The presence of isoflavones in tofu helps prevent bone loss. It is also high in calcium, reducing the risk of osteoporosis when consumed regularly. It is especially highly beneficial to women’s health.
- Age-related brain diseases
While there are mixed results, as per studies, it was found that soy products minimize age-related memory issues or mental disorders. It improves memory and other functions. As per studies in 2017, it was also found that soy products may also help Alzheimer’s patients with the presence of lecithin, which supports the production of Phosphatidylserine (PS) and Phosphatidic Acid (PA), which helps the functioning of neurons.
- Soya products or tofu are generally safe, but if you are allergic to soya, then it should be avoided.
- It is also known to affect thyroid conditions, so it is advised for medical assistance if you have any
- For the presence of oxalate in soya products, patients with calcium oxalate kidney stones can avoid it.
Tofu Noodle Soup recipe
Tofu cubes medium
Salt & pepper
as per taste
Take a heavy bottom pan and heat oil. Now add chopped garlic. When garlic is slightly brown, add all other vegetables except tofu and bok choy. Saute on a medium flame for 2 minutes, then add 4 cups of lukewarm water. Add salt and cover the pan. Keep it on medium flame and let it boil. When the vegetables are cooked (it generally takes 10-15 mins), add bok choy, soya sauce, vinegar, and pepper with tofu. Let it simmer for 5-10 mins and serve hot. You can also fry the tofu slightly before adding it if you want. Firm tofu is used in this recipe. Medium to firm tofu is suitable for this recipe.
Method of making tofu at home
Nowadays, packs of soya milk are available in the market, which you can curdle at home with the help of lemon. Let us look at the process of soya milk and tofu making at home.
- Take 4 cups of soya bean and soak it in water overnight in a vessel. Keep the vessel inside the refrigerator. Since the soya bean will soak the water and increase its volume, ensure enough space in the vessel.
- Next day, wash it and discard any rotten or spoiled beans. Now grind them in a mixer with water. If all the beans cannot go together, take small quantities and grind. Add water to make a smooth or medium consistency liquid and store in a large pot.
- Now strain the liquid to get the milk and separate soy fiber.
- Now, put the pot of soy milk on medium flame and slowly bring it to a boil.
- When it starts boiling, add around 75 ml of lemon juice.
- Remove from heat. Curds will start separating in 10-15 mins.
- When it has curdled, strain the liquid with the help of a clean cloth.
- Accumulate the tofu and press to squeeze out the liquid completely.
- You can use a heavy object on it, which will help you give firm tofu in 20-30 mins.
- Again, refrigeration is good to solidify it, and then it is ready to use.
Tofu is an excellent source of essential ingredients or vitamins for a healthy diet. Especially if you are a vegan, then it is a good source of valuable vitamins and protein required for your daily nutrition. The different textures or consistencies make it a good product for varieties of healthy and tasty recipes. While paneer is very popular in India, tofu is also used by the preferred vegan population to avoid products coming from animals. This is also a good substitute for paneer used in various Indian recipes.