Tofu Is Soy Protein Food

Tofu is soy protein food, a vegetarian meat supplement. You will learn it's history and it's uses, these facts may surprise you.

What in the world is Tofu? Have you ever heard of it or eaten it? Maybe you have heard it called by other names like bean curd or soy cheese. Or maybe you have seen it in the produce section of your supermarket. You know, that chunk of white stuff in the plastic carton filled with water. It's usually over there beside the Oriental veggies. Did you think it looked too weird or are you or your family into natural foods already?

Well, before you start making up some jokes about that funny looking stuff, maybe you would like to know some interesting facts about it. For instance, did you know that Tofu is an ancient food that was discovered around 164 B.C.? And also that it is used at Buddhist banquets to imitate meat? It is made from soy beans, which were considered one of the five sacred grains in China in ancient times. They are believed to have been discovered by a famous scholar and philosopher named Lord Liu An of Huai-nan. He may have been experimenting to find a nutritious non-meat food for his Taoist students who were vegetarians.

Gradually, the popularity of Tofu spread from China to Japan. It became a prized delicacy in Japan and the national cuisine. Used by everyone from peasants to Samari and tea masters it was an inexpensive form of protein and very versatile, taking on the flavor of any food it was teamed with.

Tofu today has become part of the natural and multi-cultural food scene in the United States. It is such an adaptable food that it is fried, baked mashed, marinated, barbecued, and frozen. True connessieurs love to eat it from the carton!

Tofu is made from curdled soy milk much as we make cheese form cow's milk. Soy beans are about 35%protein and contain eight of the essential amino acids. The usable protein in one half cup of soy beans is the same as that in five ounces of steak and has almost no saturated fats or cholesterol.

Sounds pretty good so far, huh? But how about flavor, you ask? How does it compare with a Big Mac and fries? Well,it is different from your typical American diet, but before you head for hamburger heaven you may want to consider some things. As stated, Tofu takes on the flavor of sauces and other foods it is mixed with even though it has a mild, bland sort of flavor. It can be used in sandwiches, soups,stir fries and even desserts, such as ice cream and cheese cake. It is available cold, dried,and in room temperature cartons,making it easy to store and keep. When frozen and then unthawed it developes a texture similar to chicken without the fat and meat. It can be breaded,fried and served with any food accompanying it.

Tofu is currently used to make a commercial product that is so similar to a hamburger patty that it would be difficult to tell the difference. You may find it in the freezer section of a natural foods grocery,health food store or possibly a conventional supermarket. Many Tofu products are being made available now which are wholistic convenience foods.

Sound interesting? If you're feeling adventurous why not try the following recipe? You may even agree that Tofu is terrific!

Basic Fried Tofu For Burger or Sandwich Cornmeal

Herbs and spices of your choice(suggestions are vegetable salt, Spike brand seasoning, pepper)

1 block ordinary Tofu

Cheddar cheese or any cheese you prefer

Simply slice Tofu to the size you prefer(about1/2 to 1 inch thick)and dip wet slices into corn meal. Drop in a skillet of medium hot vegetable o(about a half inch deep). Sprinkle on seasoning and fry until golden brown on both sides. When almost done,lay slices of cheese on top(omit cheese if you wish)and cover with a lid until cheese is melted. Next,choose a bread or buns you like and add ingredients such as lettuce,tomato,pickle,alfalfa sprouts,mustard,mayonaise,catsup,or anything that appeals to you. Enjoy!


Shurtleff,William and Aoyagi,Akiko,The Book of Tofu, Brookline, Massachusettes: Autumn Press, 1975.

Goldbeck, Nikki and David, American Wholefoods Cuisine, New York and Scarborough, Ontario: New American Library, 1983.

Levitt, Jo Ann, Smith, Linda and Warren, Christine, Kripalu Kitchen, A Natural Foods Cookbook and Nutritional Guide, Summit Station, Pennsylvania, 1980.

Lo, Kenneth H.C., Chinese Vegetarian Cooking,New York, Pantheon Books, A division of Random House, 1990.

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