Food & Drink Magazine

What Is That Stuff?

By Texicanwife @texicanwife

Learn About Tofu

What Is That Stuff?
You don’t have to be a vegetarian or vegan to experiment with tofu. Also known as “bean curd,” tofu is an excellent source of soy-based protein and iron and it lends itself to a variety of delicious, healthy dishes. Tofu can be found in a number of different forms:
What Is That Stuff?
Silken tofu (or Japanese-style tofu) is softer, smoother, and generally better for creamier dishes,
What Is That Stuff?
while regular tofu (or Chinese-style tofu) is firmer and more granular in texture. It works especially well in stir-fries, stews, soups, salads, and more. You can enjoy a 1/2 cup serving of any variety of tofu on just about any diet
Buying and Storing Tofu
Both silken and regular tofu can be purchased at an Asian market or health food store and many supermarkets now carry both types. Each type comes in varying degrees of firmness:
soft, firm, and extra-firm. Light silken tofu is also available. Additionally, there are ready-to-eat baked and marinated versions of regular tofu available in a variety of flavors, from Italian to Asian.
Regular tofu is always packed in water and sold refrigerated.
What Is That Stuff?
Once opened, it should be kept refrigerated in a tightly sealed plastic or glass container with water to cover. Changing the water daily should keep the tofu fresh for up to a week (it should not smell sour). Avoid purchasing the loose water-packed tofu found in large crocks or open buckets, as these can be subject to contamination. Regular tofu can be frozen for up to three months. Once defrosted, tofu has a nice caramel color and a chewier, more absorbent texture. To freeze tofu, simply drain it, then wrap tightly. Once thawed, squeeze out any water and break it into small pieces.
Silken tofu is usually sold in vacuumed-packed containers that do not need to be refrigerated and can last for years on the shelf unopened. This type of tofu can generally be found in the Asian-food section or international-foods aisle of major supermarkets. Be sure to refrigerate it after opening, however, and use as soon as possible. Unlike regular tofu, silken tofu does not respond well to freezing.
Cooking With Tofu
The kind of tofu you use depends on what you plan to cook.
What Is That Stuff?
 Silken tofu is ideal for puddings, smoothies, dips, soups, salad dressings, sauces, pie fillings, and other creamy desserts (even cheesecake!).
What Is That Stuff?
Regular tofu is an excellent meat replacement and delicious marinated for stir-frying, sautéing, or grilling. It’s also great in baked tofu dishes or in any dish in which you want the tofu to retain its shape. Try it crumbled and scrambled as well.
What Is That Stuff?
Unless you’re making a soup, it’s best to press as much water as possible out of regular tofu before cooking with it. Press it between paper towels or a kitchen towel, then cut it into the desired shape you need for your recipe. Silken tofu should not be pressed, since it’s the water content that gives it a creamy texture.
Whatever way you choose to prepare tofu, don’t be afraid to experiment.
**The above article is excerpted from South Beach Diet.

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