Tofu has been called a chameleon for its ability to be transformed into virtually any texture and flavor. Grilled, baked, stir-fried or blended into a smoothie, tofu has the ability to soak up any flavor it is paired with and now tofu is going beyond the Asian and vegan specialties to take its rightful place among home cooks in mainstream American kitchens.
For many home cooks who may not have already added tofu to their pantry of ingredients, it’s simply a matter of getting to know it. With the right instructions, any menu can be transformed with the addition of this delicious and nutrient-packed staple. Here’s a short FAQ for your cooking convenience!
What is Tofu?
A: Tofu is created with soymilk, which is extracted from soybeans. The milk undergoes a coagulation process. After the milk is coagulated, slurry-like curds are pressed together to create a singular block; the result is tofu.
What’s it mean to be firm, medium firm, soft etc.?
A: The more water that is pressed out of the tofu, the firmer it becomes, which allows for several variations of firmness. Soft (silken) tofu does not go through the pressing process. It’s made with slightly thicker soymilk.
How many firmness levels are there?
A: House Foods brand offers six types of tofu, based on firmness:
- EXTRA SOFT TOFU
- SOFT TOFU
- MEDIUM FIRM TOFU
- FIRM TOFU
- EXTRA FIRM TOFU
- SUPER FIRM TOFU
All the firmness levels listed above come in both Organic and Premium (conventional) lines, except extra soft. In addition to standard block, House Foods offers tofu in pre-cubed, grilled, and seasoned versions.
Why is it wet?
A: Tofu comes packaged in water, which helps maintain its freshness; however, to cook with tofu, it’s best to first drain as much water as possible (this applies to all types except extra soft). Do this by first taking the tofu out of the container, wrapping it in paper towels and blotting it. Once you have thoroughly removed the excess water, you can then slice it according to how you will use it.
Which one should I get?
A: Which level of firmness to buy really depends on the dish it’s going into. Soft tofu, which has a creamy, almost velvety texture, is best used as a healthy alternative in dips, smoothies, desserts, and salad dressings. Medium Firm tofu works well in casseroles, soups and salads. Firm and Extra Firm tofu are great meat substitute and ideal for stir-frying, deep-frying, crumbled in chili, and much more.
Can I eat it raw?
A: Yes. House Foods Premium Tofu is pasteurized during the manufacturing process and is safe to eat from the container. Additional heating is not necessary for proper digestion or absorption.
How do I get my kids to eat it?
A: Start by gradually adding small amounts of Tofu to their favorite dishes, and/or camouflage Tofu by blending it into a smoothie, pudding or soup to make a creamed soup. Try some of our kid's recipes on the Recipe book page.
I didn’t use all my tofu… What do I do?
A: Preserving leftover tofu that has been taken out of its original packaging is easy. Simply store the tofu in a water-filled, airtight container in the fridge. It can be left for two to three days, however, water should be changed daily or every two days at the least.
Can I freeze leftovers?
A: Tofu freezes but it will become spongy in texture and oftentimes changes to a darkish caramel color. Should you choose to freeze it, first drain the excess water. Then you can freeze in a plastic baggy or plastic container. To defrost, it is recommended to let thaw in the refrigerator or in the microwave on a defrost setting
I have opened it and drained the water. Now what?
A: Tofu can be prepared in any number of ways and it’s a great way to add nutritional value and reduce calories in traditional American recipes. Typical protein sources like in cheese or meat can easily be replaced by tofu while still maintaining a great taste.
Extra Firm Tofu can be marinated in soy sauce and then cut into blocks and grilled (or grilled kebab-style).
Firm Tofu makes a hearty meal when mixed with ground turkey, onion, and breadcrumbs for tasty meatballs. Try it diced up in a stir-fry with some veggies and your favorite sauce. Try Medium Firm Tofu in your next breakfast with an eggless scramble. Crumble it up in a pan with your typical omelet vegetables and seasoning and you have a deliciously healthy breakfast!
Soft Tofu tastes delicious puréed with some fruit to make a creamy smoothie that’s satisfying and tasty!
Cube Medium Firm Tofu and toss it into soups or broth (prior to seasoning) as an alternative to meats. Or cube it and fry it gently in olive oil, adding seasonings to your taste. It also tastes great in noodle salad.
Mash tofu with cottage cheese, avocado or even mix with hummus for a fun appetizer. Create your own tofu burgers with mashed tofu, bread crumbs, chopped onion and seasonings.
Now what’s Tofu Shirataki?
A: Well known for traditional Tofu, House Foods America, the Tofu specialists since 1983, also offers an excellent variety of Tofu Shirataki noodles, bringing a lesser known Asian noodle to U.S. consumers. Great in soups and casseroles, in stir-fry and with virtually any type of sauce, this guilt-free noodle is low in carbs, gluten-free and vegan. It’s also Kosher-certified and verified by Non-GMO Project.
House Foods Tofu Shirataki noodles are made from blending the flour of the Konnyaku - a member of the Asian yam family- with Tofu.
Why should I eat Tofu Shirataki?
A: The noodle contains only 20 calories and 3 g of carbs per 4 oz serving (Tofu Shirataki is 1/10th of the calories in 4 oz of regular pasta!).
House Foods’ Tofu Shirataki is an easy and healthy replacement to virtually any high calorie pasta dish.
(Click here to read more: http://www.house-foods.com/Tofu/tofu_shirataki.aspx)
How do I prep Tofu Shirataki?
A: Parboiling the noodle for a couple of minutes, or microwaving for a minute will remove most of the unique aroma and excess water from the noodle. Then pat well with a paper towel to dry the noodle. At this point the noodles are ready to eat!
What kinds of noodles are there?
A: Tofu Shirataki comes in four different shapes: spaghetti, fettuccine, angel-hair, and macaroni.
Do I have to cook Tofu Shirataki noodles?
A: No, they are already cooked. All you have to do is open the package and drain; as each of the varieties comes packed in liquid.
What does Hungry Girl say about Tofu Shirataki?
A: “I had completely given up on pasta until I was introduced to the wonders of Tofu Shirataki,” says Hungry Girl founder Lisa Lillien. “Made of yam flour and tofu … these noodlicious creations are high in fiber and very low in calories. It's essentially ‘pasta’ with hardly any carbs or calories. I cannot possibly begin to explain to you how much I love and cherish these noodles. They WILL change your life.”
Dietary & Nutritional information
Are you using genetically engineered soybeans?
A: No. All of the soybeans used at our company have been cultivated through traditional breeding methods and have not been genetically engineered using recombinant DNA technology. All of our Tofu is Non-GMO Project verified.
I've been told to watch my cholesterol and fat intake; does Tofu fit into my diet?
A: Tofu is an excellent plant-based protein source with virtually no cholesterol and less than one gram of fat per ounce. Not all fats are created equal. The majority of fat in Tofu is unsaturated, which is considered a "good fat" that does not harm blood vessels. Unlike the good fat in Tofu, animal protein contains cholesterol and a higher level of unhealthy saturated fat.
What are Calcium Sulfate and Glucono Delta Lactone listed on House Foods Premium Tofu labels? Are these substances used as preservatives?
A: Both are coagulants, not preservatives. Since Tofu is made from soymilk, it must be coagulated by using Calcium Sulfate and Glucono Delta Lactone. Calcium Sulfate is a naturally occurring mineral and has been a part of tofu coagulation for centuries. Glucono Delta Lactone is a coagulant derived from a glucose rich plant. House Foods Premium Tofu has an extended shelf life due to pasteurization. It is pasteurized by a unique double-cool pasteurizing method and does not contain any preservatives.
What is Nigari?
A: Nigari is a coagulant made from seawater extract. The main ingredient of Nigari is Magnesium Chloride. Nigari is used in our Extra Soft Tofu.
I heard that Tofu contains a lot of Isoflavones. What is an Isoflavone?
A: Isoflavones, found in high concentrations in soybeans, are compounds that have been known to help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and breast cancer, as well as osteoporosis and post-menopausal symptoms.