Tofu, or bean curd, is a popular food derived from soya. Made by curdling fresh soya milk, pressing it into a solid block and then cooling it, in much the same way that traditional dairy cheese is made by curdling and solidifying milk. The liquid (whey) is discarded, and the curds are pressed to form a cohesive bond.

A staple ingredient in Thai and Chinese cookery as well as a favorite for vegetarians, it can be cooked in different ways to change its texture from smooth and soft to crisp and crunchy.

Here are some tofu cooking tips:

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Nutritional highlights:

Tofu is a good source of protein and contains all eight essential amino acids.

It is also an excellent source of iron and calcium and the minerals manganese, selenium and phosphorous. In addition, tofu is a good source of magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1. Tofu is an excellent food from a nutritional and health perspective, in providing the same sort of protection against cancer and heart disease as  soya beans.

Cooking methods for tofu:

Given its neutral taste, tofu has an amazing ability to work with almost all types of flavours and foods. Extra firm tofu are best for baking, grilling and stir-fries, while soft tofu is suitable for sauces, desserts, shakes and salad dressings. Of course, it is up to you to experiment! Try slicing, marinating and grilling 2 it or chopping it up into smallish pieces and frying it with garlic until golden.

Safety Factor to consider with Tofu:

Even with all the health benefit scientifically evidence has shown with Tofu and soya products. Tofu and all soya products contain large amounts of oxalate.

Individuals with a history of oxalate containing kidney stones should avoid over consuming soya products.

Women who have or have had oestrogen-sensitive breast tumours should restrict their soya intake to no more than four servings per week.

Here are some recipes even a novice can cook up:

Ingredients: For the marinated tofu:

Asian-style tofu stir-fry with soy, chili and honey:

2 tbsp olive oil | ½ lime, zest and juice | Large pinch chilli flake | 2 tbsp soy sauce | 2 tbsp honey | 100g/3½oz tofu, cut into pieces

For the stir fried rice

2 tbsp vegetable oil | ¼ onion, finely sliced | 1 garlic clove, crushed | 55g/2oz tofu, cut into pieces | ¼ Romero pepper, | chopped handful spinach leaves | 150g/5½oz basmati rice | cooked according to packet instructions and drained | 2 tbsp soy sauce | ½ lime, juice only

Preparation method:

For the marinated tofu, combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add the tofu, coat in the mixture and allow marinating for 5-10 minutes or longer if possible.

Heat a wok over a medium heat and fry for 5-10 minutes until golden-brown all over. For the rice, heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes until softened, then add the (unmarinated) tofu pieces and the pepper and fry until the tofu is turning golden on the outside. Add the spinach, rice, soy sauce and limejuice and heat through for a further 3-4 minutes.

Serve the rice with the Asian marinated tofu on top.

Serves one person.

Ginger Spiced Tofu with Quinoa:

2 tbsp of olive oil | 100g/3½oz tofu, cut into pieces | 1 whole red small pepper chopped in small pieces | 4 big mushrooms cut in small pieces | ¼ courgette cut into small pieces. Slice small pieces of ginger as small as possible. | 2 spring onions chopped (small pieces) | 1 tbsp of honey | 1 small clove of garlic chopped in small pieces. | Black pepper grounded.

Preparation method:

150g/5½oz of quinoa in a pan with water and place a vegetable stock cook for about | 15min until quinoa fluffs up. Get a big pan place olive oil spread evenly in the pan. Place the garlic, mushrooms, peppers, courgettes, spring onions and ginger into the pan at gas mark 6 and stir constantly after 1 min of cooking at each time.

Place the tofu in a separate plate and add honey spreading out evenly onto tofu and black pepper evenly on the tofu to give it a crispy edge. After 5 min add the tofu into the pan and frequently continue to stir until cooked. Drain the quinoa place on plate with tofu dish on top. Of course just like meats Tofu can be baked or even barbequed, the secret is in the technique of draining as much water by pressing with a paper towel squeezing all unwanted access out of the Tofu.

tofu-cooking-tips

Baking Tofu for salads:

Marinade (optional):

1 tablespoon olive oil
 | 1 tablespoon soy sauce
 | 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
 | 1 tablespoon water Other marinade ideas: minced ginger, minced garlic, lemon or lime

juice, | hot sauce | Worcestershire sauce | barbecue sauce (thinned with water) | 1 tablespoon cornstarch, optional for crispy tofu

Instructions:

Press the tofu:

Remove the tofu from its packaging and pat dry with paper towels or a dishcloth. Line a plate with a paper towel and set the tofu on top. Set a small plate on top of the tofu and weigh it down with something heavy, like a 28-ounce can of tomatoes.

Press for 15 to 30 minutes, you will see liquid collect around the tofu. Cut the tofu into pieces: Remove the weight and drain off the excess liquid. Slice the pressed tofu into cubes, thin slices, or sticks, depending on how you plan to use the tofu.

Marinate the tofu (optional): To give the tofu extra flavor, marinate the tofu pieces for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.

Whisk together the marinade ingredients. Transfer the marinade and the tofu to a shallow container. Gently toss the cubes until coated with the marinate.                                                                                                                        Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. If marinating longer, toss the tofu occasionally to marinate evenly.

Heat the oven:

When ready to bake the tofu, heat the oven to 350°F.

Line a baking tray with sheet, If you’ll be serving the tofu right away, tossing the cubes with cornstarch will make them crispier. (The corn starch doesn’t make a difference once the cubes are cooled and refrigerated.) Transfer the tofu to a bowl with a slotted spoon and sprinkle with corn starch. Gently toss until the outside of the tofu is sticky and coated.

Bake the tofu: Arrange the tofu on the baking sheet in a single layer. The tofu can be close, but try to avoid pieces touching each other. The tofu will shrink as it bakes. Bake until the outside of the tofu is golden and the pieces look slightly puffed, 20 to 45 minutes depending on the size and shape of your tofu. Toss the tofu every 10 minutes so the pieces bake evenly, the longer you bake the tofu, the chewier it will be.

Cool and store:

If serving immediately, serve while still warm. If saving the tofu for later, let it cool on the baking sheet, then transfer to a refrigerator container. The tofu will keep refrigerated for up to a week. With a choice what you want to place in your salad is now optional to you.

Side dishes:

Baked in olive oil cut thin slices of sweet potato or spread coconut oil baked with slices of palatine to accompany the salad with tofu.

 

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