On the menu this week – Black Pepper Tofu
History: Tofu, aka bean curd, originates from ancient China; but little else is known about the exact historic origins of this soft white foodstuff. There are three known theories of how tofu came to be. Some believe that the late Lord Lui Au, a Hun Dynasty Prince, warrants the accolade of tofu inventor. Another theory states that the production method was discovered by accident when someone mixed together soybeans and sea salt, resulting in a tofu-like gel. The final theory has it that the ancient Chinese discovered a method for curdling soy milk from the Mongolians. However the soft white substance came into existence, it spread across Asia like wildfire and now makes regular appearances in our cuisine.
Properties: There are numerous variants of tofu, ranging from soft and silky, to extra firm and frozen; it’s an incredibly versatile ingredient. You can also omit tofu from your list of guilty pleasures thanks to its relatively low calorie count, high levels of protein, iron and good ol’ calcium. Can tofu do any wrong?
Cooking with tofu: Tofu’s flexibility means you can enjoy it in a variety of different recipes and it goes with just about anything; just take a look at the range of tofu recipes we have on offer in our cookbook. In traditional cooking, tofu is typically stewed, stir-fried in soup or cooking sauces but it is also enjoyed raw or stuffed with fillings. Over here in the West, we tend to use firmer tofu in kebabs or as mock meats, but have also been known to bung the softer version into desserts like chocolate fudge pie, yep you heard us right!
Did you know? Tofu translated directly means ‘rotting beans’, which could be a deal breaker.