TOFU is the common vegan alternative to meat in a variety of dishes ranging from stir frys to curries.
But what exactly is tofu, and is it any good for you?
What is tofu?
Tofu is a popular food derived from soya beans, as is often refered to as 'bean curds'.
It is made by curdling fresh soya milk and pressing it into a solid block before allowing it to cool.
The process is very much the same way that traditional dairy cheese is made by curdling and solidifying milk, but is an entirely vegan-friendly alternative.
It's a staple ingredient in Thai and Chinese cookery, often used in place of meats such as chicken, beef or seafood.
Tofu can also be cooked in many different ways, which can change its texture from smooth and soft, to crisp and crunchy, depending on the dish.
It has a subtle flavor, and can ve used in a variety of savory and sweet dishes.
It's usually seasoned or marinated depending on the intended dish, and its spongy texture means it absorbs flavours well and goes with most seasonings.
Tofu first originated in China, dating over 2,000 years, and was widley used in the Han dynasty.
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Is tofu good for you?
Tofu is widely considered to be a healthier alternative to meats and cheeses, and is one of the healthier vegan options to be manufactured.
The plant based food is also natually low in calories, making it a viable switch for those looking to lose weight or begin a healthier, balanced diet.
Calcium levels in tofu can vary, but it is a good source of protective antioxidants, and have proven to help stable blood sugar levels for some diabetics.
It's also been speculated that it can help with side effects relating to menopause or common mental health struggles, such as depression.
A 100g serving of tofu provides:
- 73 kcal / 304KJ
- 8.1g Protein
- 4.2g Fat
- 0.5g Saturated fat
- 0.7g Carbohydrate
Eating tofu more than once a week has also been corrolated with a reduced risk of heart disease, supposedly cuting the risk by nearly a fifth.
What can I make with tofu?
Vegan food does not have to be boring, and due to tofu's amazing versatility, it can be a wonderful addiditon to any diet.
Popular dishes include a range of asian curry's including this Thai Red Curry, or a Saag Paneer by cooking duo Bosh!
It also works well in a mix of rice dishes, from this mixed veg spanish rice dish, to a Vietnamese peanut rice and lemongrass extravaganza.
You could try an asian staple noodle stir fry to dip your toe in the water, or you can go gung-ho on the Cripsy Silken Tofu by Bosh!
Finally, you can never go wrong with a warm winter Shoryu Mushroom broth, or a veggie tofu pad thai.
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