Back home tofu was the preserve of vegetarians and vegans, a strangely textured lump of blandness that you wouldn’t even entertain putting in your mouth. But here… Well, let’s just say things are different.
Walk down a busy side street in China and you’ll quickly discover that tofu – from street stands hawking overpowering stinky stuff to the myriad of vacuum packed varieties available in convenient stores – is a veritable icon of Chinese cuisine, a deity of daily life.
The many faced god
Soy has featured in Chinese cuisine for over 2,000 years. So it’s no surprise that they’ve figured out how to make the most of the stuff.
Tofu is made by congealing soymilk, which is then allowed to drain to different degrees, resulting in myriad different textures, from silken, soft and firm to pressed, tofu knots, strips, and even fermented tofu.
Like pasta, tofu’s diverse forms are suited to different cooking methods. Whether pressed into firm noodle like strips, tied in knots to soak up surrounding juices, or fermented and fried to an aromatic cheesiness, tofu is the quintessential shape shifter.
An easy sub for meat or eggs, firm and pressed tofu have a chewy texture and are good at taking on rich savory dishes. Simply stir-fry or add to soups and stews.
Craving an umami hit? Add a spoonful of creamy, spreadable fermented tofu to scrambled eggs or stir-fried veg.
Looking for low carb? Switch out pasta for tofu skin and tofu knots that will happily imitate noodles, softening up in the juices they’re cooked in.
Craving cheese? Pan-fry slabs of stinky tofu in quality vegetable oil. The outside will turn golden brown, the inside will remain soft and spongy. And the taste? – not too dissimilar to blue cheese! Simply pair with a sweet chili dipping sauce.
And enjoy the subtle texture and softness of silken tofu as a base for creamy desserts or light dips. Use in place of cream cheese in recipes for a healthier option.
And what about that dessert?
Three words — chocolate silken tofu.
That’s right, a creamy, light, no bake dessert made with the all-star of Chinese cuisine.
Incredibly smooth and with a sweetly rich depth of flavor, it’s simply perfect for a summertime snack, with little effort in way of preparation but maximum enjoyment in the eating. Packed with iron, protein and antioxidants, could this be the ultimate, guilt-free summertime dessert?
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 250 g silken tofu
- 120 g melted dark chocolate – or sub cocoa powder or chocolate syrup for different textures.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl that’s sitting atop a pan of gently simmering water. Add a hint of coconut oil to help it out of the bowl later. If you can’t be bothered with the stove, use chocolate powder or syrup instead.
Now, off the heat, add the sugar and silken tofu and whip until super creamy. For a mousse like texture use a food processor to whip it up.
Divide the mixture into glasses, cups or bowls, chill in the fridge, then enjoy.
Fancy giving it a go? Browse online grocery store FIELDS’ selection of tofu now!
FIELDS is a popular online grocery store for safe, quality food in China. FIELDS stocks fresh organic fruit and veg, imported and domestic meat and seafood, plus essential pantry items from home. Order before 5 pm in Shanghai and benefit from same day delivery with delivery free for orders over RMB 200. A new customer? Great – you’ll receive a free gift with your first order!