By Yu Hing Tham,
Regional Executive Chef,
Republic of Noodles,
Lemon Tree Hotels,
“Have a mouth as sharp as a dagger, but a heart as soft as tofu”
– Chinese Proverb.
Tofu has been the food for Buddhist Monks for years. Buddhist monks believed that a vegetarian diet was healthier for the spirit so they advocated eating the protein-rich tofu as an alternative to meat.
Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a soft, cheese-like food made by curdling fresh hot soymilk with a coagulant. Traditionally, the curdling agent used to make tofu is nigari, a compound found in natural ocean water, or calcium sulfate, a naturally occurring mineral. Then it is pressed into a solid block.
Tofu was first used in China around 200 B.C. Today, tofu is eaten throughout South East Asia. Three main types of tofu are generally available in stores.
Firm tofu, Soft tofu and silken tofu which differ from each other in texture and taste. Tofu is rich in high-quality protein. It is also a good source of Vitamin-B and Iron. Tofu is a good choice for those who do not eat meat.
Tofu is a versatile ingredient and can be transformed into many delicious dishes.
Here is an interesting Tofu recipe from Republic of Noodles
Steamed Tofu with Lemon Chilly Dressing
Silken Tofu 200 gms
Coriander Leaves for Garnish
For the dressing:
Bird’s Chilli, sliced 1 teaspoon
Garlic, sliced 1 teaspoon
Lemon Juice 30 ml
Light Soya Sauce 30 ml
Oil 5 ml
Cut the Tofu into thick slices and place it in a bamboo steamer basket or platter.
Pour half of the Dressing over the Tofu and Steam for 10 minutes.
Serve hot with the remaining dressing. Garnish with coriander leaves.
PenangCurry of Tofu with Peanuts
This curry is from the South of Thailand but originally “imported” from Penang region from Malaysia. Coriander seeds and Cumin seeds are commonly used in the South Thai Cooking
For the Curry Paste:
(100 gm yield)
Dried red chilly 25-30 pcs
Shallots, sliced 2 tablespoon
Chopped garlic, chopped 2 tablespoon
Lemon grass, sliced 2 tablespoon
Galangal, grated 1 teaspoon
(Use ginger if you can’t find galangal)
Coriander seeds, toasted 1 teaspoon
Coriander root, chopped 2 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Mix together to make a fine paste in a food processor.
Firm Tofu 200 gm
Coconut milk 250 ml
Penang curry paste 30 gm
Light Soya Sauce 30 ml
Palm sugar 1 teaspoon
Kaffir lime leaves 2 leaves
Lemongrass, sliced 5 gm
Fresh Red Chilli, sliced 2 gm
Roasted Peanut 20 gm
Heat half the coconut milk, add the curry paste, and stir it until the oil begins to separate out from the coconut milk.
Add the remaining ingredients including tofu except the lime leaves and simmer until the sauce is absorbed and thickened. Add the remaining coconut milk, lime leaves and cook till the curry thickens.
Serve hot with Steam Rice