Soybean – To means “bean” and Fu “curds”

Tofu originated in China more than 2,000 years ago. TO means “bean” and FU refers to “curds”. It is a protein staple of many parts of Asia. It is known as a chameleon to chefs, as it can absorb many flavors.

I recall walking into a tofu shop in Hong Kong and being amazed at eating curried tofu, bbq pork flavored tofu, and duck flavored tofu. Amazing to someone that only thought it was white, soft and the texture of a soft curd. However, it was bean curd.

Tofu comes in three different textures: soft or silken, medium or regular, and firm or extra-firm. Soft tofu can be pureed and made into a dip, drink, or sauce. It can offer you a nice creamy textured milkshake. A medium tofu is the most versatile. You can puree it in a blender, or chop it with a knife.

I prefer to buy the firm tofu. Drain the water that it sits in, and cut it into equal sized squares. Cooking it in a frying pan in a stir fry with snow peas, oyster sauce, garlic, ginger, and thinly sliced beef or pork. Add a mixture of soy sauce and corn starch to make a sauce that can accompany your stir fry.

It is good to know that you can substitute sour cream or whipping cream in a recipe for at least half of it with tofu.

Where do I find tofu in my grocery store? Most stores will have it in their produce section. It is usually sold in containers filled with water that are vacuum packed. These usually will last a week in your fridge. However, make sure you check the expiration date on the package.

Check these out!
Boyte, Frances. 2003. Tofu Gourmet Cuisine.
Burlington, ON,Canada: Dillon Publishing Inc.
Hagler, Louise. 1991. Tofu Cookery.
Summertown, TN: Book Publishing Company.
2001. Tofu Quick & Easy.
Summertown, TN: Book Publishing Company.
2008. Tofu Cookery.
Summertown, TN: Book Publishing Company.
Housez, Brita. 2000. Tofu mania: add tofu to 120 of your favorite dishes.
New York, NY: Marlowe & Company.
Lund, Joanna M. 2005. Cooking Healhty With Soy.
DeWitt, IA: Healthy Exchanges, Inc.
Nguyen, Andrea. 2012. Asian Tofu: Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and
Cook It at Home. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press.

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of St. Louis Public Library