• Tue, Sep 17 - 11:45 am ET

What Even Is Tofu?

cute kawaii tofuI’ve been eating a lot of tofu (I’m serious a lot of tofu) for years now with pretty much no idea what it even really is. Like an idiot! Today, that changed and I stopped being a Tofu-idiot. Today, the squidgy block of soy-whatever that I love to cut up and cook with became something I understand and I’m going to share my newfound understanding of an outrageously simple substance with you.

Here is what I knew about tofu before doing a little research:

  • Squishy
  • Whitish
  • Protein
  • A staple food
  • Soy(?)
  • Takes on whatever delicious flavors are around it
  • Vegan
  • Sometimes a meat substitute
  • Versatile
  • Mysterious
  • Made by alchemy

As it turns out, Tofu is neither mysterious nor forged by alchemists. Let’s break it down:

What is tofu made out of?

Tofu is made out of bean curd; more specifically, tofu is made out of soy bean curd.

How is tofu made?

Making tofu from soy milk is vaguely like making cheese from milk. Soy beans are ground and boiled in order to separate the solids to make the milk. A coagulant (firming agent) is added to the hot soy milk and water, when curds have developed and are ready, they are transferred into a form (usually a box) and the liquid is pressed out.

Can I make it myself?

You sure can, but you’ll need some basic equipment. Word on the street is that homemade tofu puts store-bought tofu to shame. Here is a helpful guide to making your own.

What are the different kinds?

There are three different types of tofu: silken, soft and firm. The amount of water and natural coagulant that are used when making the tofu determine the type. The silken type is creamy and easy to blend into different foods. Vegans and the dairy averse will use the silken type to replace yogurt and cream cheese in recipes. Soft tofu is firmer than silken, but not quite firm. It’s often used to replace pastas to give a low carb dish a carb-y feel. Firm tofu (my jam) is harder and thicker than the other types. It’s the kind of tofu that is often cubed up and used as a hardy part of a dish or a meat replacement.

How do I care for my Tofu?

Once you bring tofu home from the store, you should refrigerate or freeze it immediately as it is highly perishable. Once you have your tofu, you can press it to change the texture or not and then cook it however you like.

What did we learn today? Tofu is a miracle soy product gifted to us by wizards. Now we’re all informed tofu consumers.

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4]// Image via Arimoore

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