If you have special dietary requirements, then tofu is one ingredient that ticks all the boxes: gluten free, dairy free, vegan and vegetarian.
What is tofu?
You would never suspect that tofu once started out as a humble legume, simply by looking at it.
A byproduct of soy beans, tofu is coagulated soy milk that’s pressed into flat white blocks to create the soft, firm or extra firm squares that are sold at the shops.
The origins of tofu span back to the Chinese Han dynasty, some 2000 years ago, but its production later spread to Korea, Japan, Vietnam and other parts of Southeast Asia. The popularity of tofu most likely surged with the rise of Buddhism, thanks to the value that Buddhists place on following a vegetarian diet.
Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a popular ingredient in Southeast Asian cooking for other reasons too. It has a mild and somewhat bland flavour, which makes it the perfect ingredient for soaking up the spicy, sweet, savoury and sour notes that are so prevalent in Thai cooking, without competing for dominance.
Tofu is revered by vegans and vegetarians alike for being an excellent source of protein that replaces meat in many dishes. Soya protein is actually believed to lower bad cholesterol levels and tofu has a low calorie count as well.
It’s a great source of iron, calcium, magnesium and other micronutrients. You can add manganese, selenium, phosphorus, copper, zinc and vitamin B1 to that list too.
All eight essential amino acids can be found in this one product, which is handy. Our bodies aren’t capable of making these compounds, so we must turn to food sources or supplements. Amino acids help to strengthen our muscles, boost immunity and reduce stress.
Soya products are rich in phytoestrogens, and some women benefit from adding foods like tofu into their diet when they enter menopause.
Many people give up on tofu after cooking it for the first time but failing to incorporate a crucial step (draining the tofu of water first). This results in a wet, mushy and spongy product, rather than the firm and dense tofu that you find at Thai restaurants.
We’ve perfected the art of cooking tofu, which you can enjoy in many Wok on Inn dishes, or as the star ingredient in our moorish tofu puffs (with sweet and sour peanut dipping sauce)!
Visit your nearest Wok on Inn or get delivery, to enjoy traditional, delicious and nourishing Thai food in Sydney. You can also order online!