If you've ever seen, tasted or smelled uncooked tofu, you may wonder what attracts people around the world to this bland substance that resembles cheese. But the high-protein soy product, available in blocks of soft, medium, firm and extra-firm consistencies, is amazingly versatile. Commonly consumed in Asian countries and by vegetarians and vegans everywhere, tofu is made from curdled soy milk. You may be lured in by tofu's nutritional value and low cholesterol content, but once it's properly prepared, the taste may win your loyalty.
Use fried tofu in a variety of dishes. Fry firm or extra-firm chunks in olive oil over medium heat until golden brown and slightly crunchy. Eat it plain or add your favorite seasonings, such as garlic, oregano, soy sauce, cumin or paprika. Use the finished product to complement fried rice, pasta, stir-fry, soups, wraps and leafy green salads.
Use care when eating some types of uncooked tofu. Always cook raw, unpasteurized tofu until it reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit in the middle. Refrigerated, prepackaged tofu bought from a grocery store has been pasteurized and is safe to eat raw.
Make tofu sloppy joe sandwiches. Drain and crumble a block of extra-firm tofu, then fry it in a skillet over medium heat in two tablespoons of olive oil. Add your favorite homemade or prepackaged sloppy joe sauce and continue cooking until hot. Spread the mixture on toasted buns and serve. See if your family can tell the difference before you tell them they're eating tofu.
Replace your morning scrambled eggs with an easy tofu scramble. Drain and crumble one package of extra-firm tofu into a skillet with two tablespoons of vegetable oil at medium heat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and one-half teaspoon of turmeric. Add sauteed onions, green peppers, mushrooms, shredded cheese, hot sauce and other items as desired. Cook for five to ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Rinse unused tofu under running water and place it in an airtight food-storage container. Add just enough fresh water to cover the block, seal the container and place it in the refrigerator.
Amie Taylor has been a writer since 2000. Book reviews, gardening and outdoor lawn equipment repair articles and short fiction account for a handful of her published works. Taylor gained her gardening and outdoor equipment repair experience from working in the landscaping and lawn-care business she and her husband own and operate.
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