April 26, 2012
Who’s in the kitchen? To fu or not to fu…that is the question
If the word tofu reminds you of “flower child” of the 60s and tasteless health food, you are not alone—but you are missing out on one of the most versatile, healthy-for-you ingredients. Made from soybeans, water and a coagulant, tofu is high in protein and calcium, and is an all-star at absorbing spices and marinades. It has a neutral flavor that will adapt to any kind of recipe, from the most savory and spicy to the sweet and decadent cheesecakes and chocolate mousse parfaits that can be whipped up by it.
Tofu is an uber ingredient because of its ability to replace other ingredients with aplomb.
It’s chameleon like qualities and nutritional value made tofu a staple in Asian cuisine for hundreds of years. John Locke was quoted as saying “We are like chameleons. We take our hue and the color of our moral character from those around us.” Fortunately, tofu fares much better when referred to as a chameleon. Simply put, it is soybean curd. Tofu is to soymilk as cottage cheese is to cow’s milk.
One half-cup serving of raw firm tofu contains 10.1 grams of protein. The recommended daily intake is 56 grams for most men and 46 for most women. A half-cup of tofu is approximately 4 ounces by weight. By comparison, 1/2 cup dairy milk contains 5.1 grams of protein; one 3 ounce egg contains 6 grams. Four ounces of tofu contains 94 calories, 4 ounces of ground beef contains 331 and half a cup of cheese has 320 calories. For each 100-calorie serving, tofu contains 11 grams of protein. A hundred calories of beef provides 8.9 grams and 100 calories of cheese contains 6.2 grams.
When it comes to fat, tofu really comes out as a winner. A half-cup serving of tofu has 5 grams of fat. Four ounces of beef has 15 grams of fat, and one egg contains 5.5 grams of fat.
For those who want to further slash their intake of fat, tofu comes in a low fat version as well and has only 1.5 grams of fat.
Another added bonus is that tofu is plant-based so it has no cholesterol, and it also contains 22 mg of calcium, about 22% of the RDA.
Tofu has become an everyday word, but many of you probably have never experimented with the foreign looking substance and would wonder what to do with it, once you take it out of the neat little package it comes in.