Tofu is the unofficial poster child for vegan and vegetarian cuisine, but where does it come from, and what exactly is it? Previously described as ‘bland’ and ‘tasteless’, tofu was once one of the most underrated plant-based foods of all time. But in modern times, with the plethora of veganized dishes, new cooking techniques, and tasty innovative flavor methods, tofu can now be made into a delicious meal or even a sweet treat.
Since everyone adores tofu, especially vegans, we wanted to dive into the history of it.
Tofu has been around for a long, long time, believe it or not. Like many soya foods, tofu originated in China. The first people to write about tofu were writers from the Song Dynasty in China, about 900 AD. Those Song Dynasty writers thought tofu had been invented by a Taoist prince of the Han Dynasty, Liu An, in about 100 AD. Eventually, Buddhist monks brought soybeans and recipes for bean curd to Japan in the eighth century, and tofu was originally called okabe. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that its modern name came about.
By the 1960s, interest in healthy eating brought tofu to Western nations. Since that time, countless research has demonstrated the many benefits that soya and tofu can provide. Modern times have since proven the variety of ways in which it can be eaten, cooked, stored and pressed.
What is it?
Tofu, or bean curd, is a food derived from soya. It’s made by curdling fresh soya milk, pressing it into a block, and then cooling it, similar to the way traditional dairy cheese products are made. The liquid, whey, is disposed of, and the curds are pressed to form a bond. It’s sold in ready-to-eat blocks. But tofu also refers to the whole group of tofu, including silken tofu, deep-fried tofu, cutlets, firm and pressed, grilled and smoke, or frozen.
Tofu has long been the most widely used soyfood in the world. In East Asia, it has almost the same importance that meat, milk, and cheese have for people in Western countries.
Before you start cooking with tasty tofu, know the basics: there are two kinds, regular and silken. Regular is firmer and best for dishes where you want the tofu to hold together, like stir-fries and baked recipes. Silken is great for sauces, dressings, and desserts of all kinds.
Now that that’s settled. The variety in which tofu can be eaten in actually overwhelming. For breakfast, you can enjoy a Protein Açaí and Red Currant Breakfast Bowl, which is packed with nutrients. For an updated avocado toast, try making this Avocado and Tofu Ricotta Sourdough Toast. Another great option is this kicky Spicy Tofu Scramble and Avocado Breakfast Burrito.
For lunch, the options are truly endless. Indulge in this Tropical Ceviche and Tangy Tofu, this Tofu and Coconut Bacon Caesar Sub, these Crispy Tofu Stone Fruit Veggie Rolls With Dipping Sauces, or this super filling Smoked Tofu Multi-Layer Sandwich.
For dinner, opt for an Easy Thai Red Tofu Curry, which is truly easy. Or this Deep Dish Quiche Pizza, Masala Baked Indian Tofu With Turmeric Rice, or this satisfying Five Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese.
Did you know that tofu tastes fantastic in desserts? Try using tofu in this Deep-Dish Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Silk Tart, Instant Pot Lemon Cheesecake or this sweet and creamy Healthy Peanut Butter Pie.
There you have it! Tofu has been a part of our history for a long time, and will surely be reinvented and enjoyed for years to come. Have you ever seen the deliciously sweet History Of The Donut?
If you enjoy features and tofu recipes like this, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App, it’s available for both Android and iPhone and has free and paid versions. The app is loaded with thousands of allergy-friendly & vegan recipes/cooking tips, has hundreds of search filters and features like bookmarking, meal plans and more!
Lead image source: Shutterstock
Help keep One Green Planet free and independent! Together we can ensure our platform remains a hub for empowering ideas committed to fighting for a sustainable, healthy, and compassionate world. Please support us in keeping our mission strong.