Tofu has long since ceased to be just a boring meat substitute for vegetarians but is also very popular with many other tastes. Because the versatile “soy quark” is nutritious, low in calories, and contributes to a healthy diet. On the occasion of “World Tofu Day,” we took a closer look at the food and tell you what makes tofu so healthy and how you can incorporate it into your diet in a variety of ways.
A little product information – what exactly is tofu?
Tofu is made from soaked soybeans. The beans are ground with water to a fine puree. The soy milk obtained from this is then separated from the fibrous components of the puree by filtration. The addition of coagulants such as citric acid, sea salt, magnesium chloride or calcium sulfate causes the soy milk to set.
This creates flocculated soy protein, which is then separated from the liquid by skimming, heating, or pressing and pressing into blocks. Since it is similar to traditional dairy products such as quark or cheese during production, it is often referred to as soy quark or soy cheese.
Is tofu healthy?
Tofu is not only particularly low in calories, but is also full of fiber, B vitamins, minerals, and protein. Secondary plant substances and cell protection micronutrients such as folic acid and selenium are also included, making it a healthy all-rounder. It scores particularly well with the following nutritional values:
- Protein: Soy protein is more digestible for humans than most other vegetable proteins and also contains important essential amino acids that the human body cannot produce itself.
- Iron: The absorption of iron can be further increased by adding lemon juice or other foods containing vitamin C
- Potassium: Potassium is an essential mineral, which means that our body cannot produce it itself, but has to absorb it from food
- Magnesium: Incidentally, the content is higher than in meat and fish, which contain an average of approx. 20 – 30 mg magnesium
- Calcium: Tofu is ideal for vegans or people who want to supplement their calcium balance without dairy products
- B & E vitamins: These vitamins fulfill tasks in the protein and energy metabolism, protect the body cells from free radicals and strengthen nerves and the immune system
A balanced diet also includes other sources of protein, since animal proteins, for example, can be better utilized by the body than plant proteins. Only the combination of different proteins makes it possible to make the protein usable for the body as a whole.
In terms of nutritional values, tofu also performs very well with its calorie content. The soy product is therefore ideal for a health-conscious diet menu. In addition, tofu contains hardly any fat and sugar, is easily digestible, and ensures a positive acid-base ratio in the body.
Versatile in nature of consumption
Tofu is initially tasteless in its unprocessed form, but it also offers numerous possibilities for preparation and seasoning. It is not for nothing that the food is called the “culinary chameleon” by its followers. You can either roast, grill, bake or deep-fry the versatile soy quark – depending on your preference.
Read Also: Different Ways of Cooking Quinoa
You can refine and vary its taste with spices. Breadings or marinades made from ginger, garlic, curry, soy sauce, lime juice, coconut milk or brown sugar are particularly suitable for this. Even unseasoned, it is ideal as an ingredient in Asian soups or as a side dish in a salad.
When preparing it, you should make sure that you squeeze out the tofu well first, as it contains a high water content (except for silken tofu). Draining works well with the help of two kitchen boards, between which you can place the tofu for squeezing.
Apply pressure to the tofu block from above, either by hand or with a saucepan, for example. The liquid then escapes on the sides. Tofu that has been dehydrated in this way absorbs the flavor of the spices better and becomes crispier when fried because its porous structure is more receptive to other flavors.
Store tofu properly to preserve freshness
If you don’t use up all of your tofu blocks, you can store and eat it for up to four days if you store them correctly. You should note the following:
- Always keep it in the fridge – whether already opened or still wrapped.
- Tofu that has already been opened should be placed in freshwater or salt water in a resealable box or a covered bowl.
- While you can freeze tofu for longer storage (up to 6 months), once thawed it loses its firmness and becomes porous.
Even when stored properly, tofu can go bad quickly. So be sure to check the smell before eating: if it is no longer fresh, it smells extremely unpleasant.