Today people start to pay more attention to their health, consequently they pay more attention to what they eat. Now there are a lot of talks about different “super healthy” foods that usually contain many useful components and are low in calories. One of such foods is Tofu cheese. Our custom writing service presents this essay on Tofu nutritional chemicals to figure out whether this product is really as useful as people say about it.
What is Tofu and why people eat it?
Let us introduce you soybean curd (cottage cheese), or soybean cheese in other words, or Tofu. This is probably one of the most popular products in Japan and China. Girls on a diet, vegetarians and Asian cuisine admires adore Tofu. Look more carefully at the unusual delicacy. This is one of the most common products on the kitchens of vegetarians and vegans. However, “meat eater” should also pay their attention to is.
Thanks to soya beans (from which Tofu is made) this is one of the most nutritional and economical protein foods. It is low-cal and almost does not contain fats and carbohydrates. And the legends about extremely useful qualities of Tofu were created in ancient times.
The legend says that Tofu was created in China in 164. This culinary discovering is attributed to the court alchemist named Liu An, who was ordered by Chinese Emperor to find or create a magic product, so-called elixir of immortality. This man by accident made up to use soya and after adding some special salts into its beans he got Tofu. If you are interested in history, there are essays on our website that may interest you, for example, history of Thanksgiving essay and many others.
The product became famous not only in China, but also in other Asian regions. In China it is called a little bit differently, i.e. “doufu”. However, on the West soybean curd is called according to Japanese phonetic tradition “Tofu”. Although in the country of the Rising Sun people start to cook it in the second millennium BC only. Chinese Tofu is tender and more delicate than Japanese, and this fact is connected with different traditions of soymilk production. If you need to know more about the difference between Chinese and Japanese soybean cottage cheese, you may use our essay writing service and order such an essay.
Low in calories, high in protein
Tofu is a healthy low-cal product that does not have cholesterol, but contains soy protein, linoleic acid and lecithin. Soya beans as well as peas, kidney beans, lentils or chickpeas belong to the group of leguminous. However, on their background, soybeans have higher nutritional value, in particular because of the protein and increased energy value. Soya protein that Tofu contains is considered to be of full value and it means that it contains essential acids that our body needs to function in normal way. The body itself does not produce them, so they should be transported to the body with the foods. That is why people who follow vegan or vegetarian diet are recommended to eat Tofu. 50 g. of soybeans are equal to one and a half cup of cow milk or 150 g. of beef. Besides, soya protein, unlike the animal protein, does not contain harmful purines that prevent from the absorption of calcium.
Vitamins, minerals, calorific value
There are a lot of vitamins in Tofu, such as B vitamins, vitamin E (very powerful antioxidant), phosphor, iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium. More than 80% of fat that Tofu contains are essential fatty acids that are very valuable for our health.
100 g. of Tofu contains 11 g. of protein, 5 g. of fat, 0,4 g. of carbohydrates, 0 g. of cholesterol, 146 mg. of calcium, 105 mg. of phosphor, 1,7 mg. of iron, 0,09 mg. of B vitamins. Energy value of such amount of Tofu is about 80 – 100 kcal. This product has low glycemic index and due to this fact it stabilizes the sugar level in blood.
Tofu in cooking
In the kitchen Tofu is a very “grateful” product that can be processed in different ways. It is one of the ingredients of dishes of Eastern, as well as European cuisine, of meat, vegetarian and vegan dishes. Diced and cooked with minced meat and hot spices Tofu is a traditional dish of Sichuan cuisine. In Pekin it is usually eaten cold with garlic or cut into long strips. Vegetarians and vegans cook with this cottage cheese the analogs of scrambled eggs and cheesecake. Skillfully cooked Tofu can successfully replace meat. It is used to make cutlets and meatballs. To make the taste stronger, the product can be marinated and soy sauce is often used for this purpose. It is important because Tofu itself almost does not have taste and it absorbs well the flavors of sauces and condiments, which it is served with. However, soft neutral taste of curd is its advantage at the same time. People add vanilla sugar to it and serve it as a dessert.
How to choose?
Tofu is being sold not in every points of sale. It usually can be found in the stores of healthy food and big super markets. There are different kinds of soy curd: natural, smoked with different additives, for example with basil. Before buying, it is necessary to read the list of its compounds. It is better to buy Tofu, in production which there is used calcium chloride.
You can meet Tofu classic and with additives, as well as hard and soft Tofu. Classic Tofu should contain soybeans and water. The list of compound elements may maintain vegetable broth, olive oil, carrots, parsley, olives, leeks, celery, garlic, pepper, spices (salt, nutmeg, savory, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, basil, chili, oregano). You should keep in mind that Tofu additives may be used to mask its not fresh condition, so you need to be attentive reading information on shelf life or buy “clean / pure” product without additives.
Tofu can be hard or soft. In the first variant it is easy to cut, it is used in soups and meat dishes cooking. Meanwhile soft cheese has tender consistency and flavor, and it perfectly suits the cooking of desserts, cocktails, salads and so on. Tofu can be fried, baked and boiled. After the moment you open its package, the product should be kept in a fridge and it is better to eat it during two-three days.
What you need to pay attention to? To the colour of Tofu. Good “correct” Tofu has white colour. If you see yellow Tofu, it means it has been frozen, so it is better to ignore such cheese, especially if you have other options. And also here are some more “selection” details. Pay attention to the package. It would be better if it is vacuum.
About soy again
Before buying it is also important to pay attention to whether the product is certificated or not, whether it has confirmation that used soybeans are not genetically modified. However, many experts believe that harm of genetically modified organisms is exaggerated greatly.
There is an opinion that soy influences negatively the man’s health. Researchers from Minnesota have been studying the influence of this plant on men and proved that this plant does not reduce fertility by no means. Nevertheless, it is important to keep the measure. If one eats soybean every day in amount of 50-100 gr., it will not cause any negative consequences to the body.
However, people who suffer thyroid diseases (especially hypothyroidism) need to be careful with soy. It contains thioglycosides that may have negative impact on the body functioning.
How to store?
Most enterprises pasteurize Tofu right during the production. Such a product does not require refrigeration until its container is closed. Non pasteurized Tofu is put in a cool place. If the package is open, but Tofu s not eaten fully, it is recommended to rinse the leftovers and place them in a container with water. If possible, evacuate air from the container, put it in a fridge and change the water every day. Thus Tofu will remain fresh during a week.
Tofu can also be frozen. In this case its storage life will last up to five months. After defrosting, Tofu changes its consistency and flavor. It becomes tougher and more elastic like meat. A dish with such an ingredient also has a little bit different taste. Unfrozen Tofu has pleasant caramel colour and is perfect for being marinated or fried.
By the way, today in Japan it is popular another type of Tofu, so-called Kogori-dofu or Koya-dofu. This is a frozen variant of soy delicacy. It is an invention of Buddhist monks from Mount Koya. From “classic” it differs with its spongy structure, and its flavor remains rich even after maceration. In China Koya-dofu is sold by five pieces, packed in polyethylene. Also the package includes soup base powder, in which the cheese is being boiled. However, it is okay not to use the powder at all.