Tofu, or bean curd, is a food that originated in China. It is made of soy milk, water and a coagulant. Making tofu with soy milk is similar to making cheese with milk. It’s made from curdled soy milk, which then compacts the resulting clots.
Tofu is low in fat and high in protein, calcium and iron. Tofu itself has little flavor, but it can absorb new flavors through spices and marinades. Due to this quality and nutritional value, tofu, a staple of Asian cuisine since ancient times, has recently become a popular ingredient in western vegetarian dishes.
There are many kinds of tofu, which can be divided into two categories: fresh tofu, extracted directly from soybean milk; Processed tofu, extracted in a certain way from fresh tofu.
White color and with a very tender texture, it contains the highest moisture content of all fresh tofus. This is the typical tofu of South China. It is usually used to make soup.
The typical tofu of North China, firm tofu has a yellowish color, and regains its shape when pressed. Because of its firm texture, it is suitable for stir-frying, and can be picked up easily with chopsticks.
This extra firm tofu contains the least amount of moisture of all fresh tofu. It is usually pressed very flat and sliced into long strings, which look like loose cooked noodles, and can be served cold or stir-fried.
Mapo Tofu (Mapo Bean Curd)
Mapo Bean Curd is bean curd in a chili and bean sauce, which is usually a thin, oily, and bright red suspension. It is often topped with minced meat, usually pork or beef. Seasonings include water chestnuts, onions, other vegetables, or wood ear fungus.