Bean curd

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Tofu
Yutaka Tofu

Soy Bean Curd is a Chinese product, dau fu, but is best known in its Japanese form, tofu. Soy milk can be curdled like cow's milk with lemon juice or vinegar, giving the basis for bean curd. Additional ingredients, such as calcium sulphate, adds in calcium, plus emulsifiers, e.g. may be added to bind the soy proteins in and create a softer, wetter curd. Sugar may be added for sweetness and an improved mouthfeel.

Softer curds are best used for steamed dishes and the harder tofu for frying, which is often done before boiling, so firming it before adding to the liquid. Bean curd is tasteless in itself, but is a great attractor of other flavours, pretty much taking on all the flavours in which it is cooked.

Bean curd is an almost perfect substitute for meat protein and is high in vitamin B and iron.

Bean curd can be used similarly to paneer, Indian curd cheese, to make a good curry.

Food and Flavour Pairing

Tofu can be flavored with:

Storing

Soy bean curd usually comes in an ambient format that has a long life. But once opened it should be stored in the fridge and submerged in water for no more than 2 days.

Further reading

  • Christian, G. (2005) Real Flavours: the handbook of gourmet & deli ingredients, Grub Street. ISBN 1904943209.
  • Stobart, T. (1981) The Cook's Encyclopedia: ingredients & processes, Harper & Row. ISBN 0060141271.