While usually popular among vegetarians in the West, Tofu has been a staple on the dining table in China for hundreds of years. The process of making Tofu is similar to cheese-making. Like cheese, tofu too is made when milk is separated into curds, but instead of the cow milk, soya milk is used. Here are some other facts you should know.
Chinese legend says that more than 2,000 years ago, prince Liu An (刘安) of the Han Dynasty accidentally discovered tofu when studying Chinese alchemy by curdling soy milk with nigari seaweed.
Tofu comes in five main kinds of textures: silken, extra soft, firm, medium and extra firm. In China, the softer ones are called southern tofu, while the firmer ones are called northern tofu. Frozen tofu, dried tofu, and even tofu skin, can also be included in this big, pasty family.
High in protein and low in fat and calories, tofu is definitely a good choice for your fitness-conscious diet.
Tofu doesn’t taste like meat, but don’t be tofu phobic! Tofu absorbs the flavors of whatever you’re cooking it with. Chinese people, the oldest and most renowned tofu-eaters, have created a variety of tasty dishes with this versatile food.
Thanks to the popularity of Sichuan cuisine, spicy Mapo tofu has become a well-known dish across the world. Mapo translates to old woman with a pockmarked face, and as legend has it, it was pockmarked old lady during the Qing Dynasty who invented the dish, combining tofu, ground beef and the tongue-numbing Sichuan pepper corn.
Fermented tofu, or doufuru, is an important processed condiment made from soybeans, salt, rice wine and vinegar. With the air drying and fermentation, these 2cm by 2cm cubes taste like firm cheese.
Stinky tofu, or choudoufu, is another form of fermented tofu and is notorious for its strong stench. But once you overcome the smell and take a bite of this deep-fried specialty doused in spicy and sweet sauces, you might just start craving it.