I LOVE tofu. I could eat it every day, every meal… But, then I would get bored of it, so I don’t. My Top Five Favourite Gluten-Free, Vegan Tofu Dishes are easy, quick, delicious and are guaranteed to impress guests.
What is Tofu?
The short answer is that tofu (AKA bean curd) is ‘cheese’ made from soya milk. Soya milk is coagulated by adding nigari (the residue left from the evaporation of sea water) and pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks.
Tofu-making was first recorded during the Chinese Han dynasty approximately 2000 years ago. Tofu and its production technique were introduced into Korea and Japan during the Nara period (710–794). The love of tofu subsequently spread into other parts of Southeast Asia. This spread is probably linked to the spread of Buddhism – tofu is an important part of the vegetarian diet of East Asian Buddhism.
Tofu is widely used in Asian/ Oriental cooking. It is used in sweet and savoury food. Good tofu has a very subtle flavor which makes it suitable for adding to almost any type of dish as it absorbs the flavours it is cooked with.
Fresh tofu is sold in lots of subtle varieties; silken/ soft, medium, firm, or extra firm. Dried tofu is an excellent store cupboard staple (which you can get in sheets, knots and various other shapes). You can also buy fresh tofu skin and tofu sheets. My favourite is pre-fried, fresh tofu from my local Oriental supermarket – balls or cubes or light, crispy tofu you can add to dishes.
Nutritional Value of Tofu
Tofu contains relatively few calories high quantities of protein. Tofu is high in iron, and depending on the coagulants used in manufacturing (e.g. calcium chloride, calcium sulphate, magnesium sulphate), it can have a high calcium or magnesium content.
There are lots and lots of ‘articles’ which talk about how bad tofu is for health. I won’t go in to the claims –
the world wide web is full of ‘information’ for you to make up your own mind. There is limited substance to the articles I have read. They are full of causal links, casual joining the dots and poor science.
If you have an allergy or intolerance to soya tofu is not for you. If you are worried by claims that soya and tofu are bad for your health, read-up, do not be fooled by pseudo-science and snake-oil and make up your own mind based on empirical data, peer reviewed research and common sense.
That said, eating too much of anything is bad for you and we should all eat a varied diet full of a range of protein, fruits, vegetables etc.
Where Can I Buy Good Tofu?
I buy tofu in all its shapes and sizes from my local Asian/ Oriental supermarkets. It is great value, high quality and there is a wide variety of types. Most large towns and cities have Asian/ Oriental supermarkets or stores so you should be able to get hold of good quality stuff. If not you can buy dried and silken tofu on line.
I never buy tofu in a supermarket. It is (usually) horrendous. The taste and texture are worlds away from the subtle, delicate taste and texture of tofu. The one exception to this is I sometimes buy silken tofu in supermarkets. This is usually the same as that stocked in Asian or Oriental supermarkets. It is imported from Japan and has a very long shelf life (it does not need to be kept in the fridge).
My Top Five Favourite Gluten-Free, Vegan Tofu Dishes
There are a huge variety of dishes you can make with tofu. I have selected my (current!!!) Favourite Gluten-Free, Vegan Tofu Dishes. There are no sweet dishes on my list, that’s because I love the savoury tofu too much to stray in to sweet territory just yet. I don’t feel like I have done savoury tofu just yet.
Soooo… My Top Five Favourite Gluten-Free, Vegan Tofu Dishes – in no particular order!!!
Salt and Pepper Tofu
A firm favourite of mine from when I used to frequent a fabulous Vietnamese cafe. Salt and Pepper Tofu is crispy, light, salty, delicious. You can easily make this restaurant favourite at home.
Lemongrass Tofu Bowl
When you want the subtle flavours and texture of Asia my Lemongrass Tofu Bowl is perfect. Served with rice for a complete meal. Heavenly.
Tofu and Green Peppers in Black Bean Sauce
Tofu and Green Peppers in Black Bean Sauce was my favourite take-away meal (before I stopped eating gluten). I missed is so much and so I decided to make an authentic (to the take-away version!) version so I could treat myself at home.
Miso Soup with Tofu and Shitake Mushrooms
When you are feeling a little bit under the weather and want something soothing, nutritious and light Miso Soup with Tofu and Shitake Mushrooms is perfect.
Ma Po Tofu
Want some spice or a bit of a kick to your supper? Ma Po Tofu is rich, delicious and warming. A great winter supper dish.
What are Your Top Gluten-Free, Vegan Tofu Dishes?
There are hundreds and thousands of dishes that can be made with tofu – from Asian dishes to European dishes and savoury to sweet.
Silken tofu is great is desserts and puddings as it can be whizzed up and it sets. Great for pots of sweet goodness!
What are your Top Gluten-Free, Vegan Tofu Dishes?