A bean curd made from coagulating soymilk with salts or acids and pressing the curds to remove water and form into a block. Tofu has very little flavor and absorbs the flavors of the other ingredients. Regular tofu is not fermented and does not have bacteria and/or molds added as do dairy cheeses. Can be used instead of meat in vegetarian and vegan dishes, such as breakfast or other burritos, chili, enchiladas, lasagna, pates, salads, sandwiches, soups, on shish kebabs with vegetables and mushrooms, and stir fries, etc. Can also be scrambled with turmeric and/or nutritional yeast and other spices for a taste, appearance and texture similar to scrambled eggs. Make sure to use firm tofu and let the water drain as much as possible before frying.
Season: available year-round
How to select: Tofu comes in a variety of textures: soft, firm, and extra-firm. The water-packed tofu tends to be more firm, than tofu packed in aseptic packaging. Silken tofu is best for puddings, dips and some desserts since it's smoother and less grainy. It's important to follow the recipe as to which type to use for best results. Soft tofu is usually too soft for stir-fries and firm tofu may be too grainy for some desserts and dips, etc.
How to store: Water-packed tofu (fresh tofu) must be refrigerated and has a short shelf life while the aseptically packaged tofu can last for years of the shelf (unopened of course!) Opened tofu usually will last up to a week. It is recommended to rinse with water daily if left uncooked in the refrigerator. If it smells sour it has probably gone bad and should not be used.
How to prepare: Soft tofu is best added to soups or pureed. The firmer tofus can be marinated, fried, or sauteed. Heating tofu before marinating will help it absorb the marinade thoroughly.