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Bean curd

A white cheese-like curd made from soya beans, bean curd was invented by the Chinese about 2,000 years ago.  The Chinese call it doufu meaning "rotten beans" and the Japanese name is tofu.  

To make it, soya beans are liquified to form soya milk.  A coagulating agent is added, causing the whey (the  liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained) and protein to separate.  The whey is drained off and the curd is pressed into blocks.

Bean curd is bland in taste but its soft, silken texture absorbs the flavor of the ingredients it is cooked with.  It is an excellent source of protein, is low in fat, high in vitamins B and E and useful in meatless diet.  Bean curd is usually sold in blocks, either fresh, vacuum-packed or in small tubs or cartoons of water.

Storage:  Store fresh bean curd covered in water in the fridge for up to 5 days and change the water daily.

Preparation: Dry bean curd before use by sitting on paper towels.   Don't squeeze the water outs as it will make it chewy. 

Types of Bean Curd:

  • Soft (silken)- Soft bean curd needs to be handled carefully.  It can be added to soups (at the end of cooking or gently steamed and piled on top of noodles.  
  • Firm and silken firm - This is more robust and can be stir-fried or deep-fried without it breaking up, added to miso soup or eaten as a side dish.  Dust cubes of bean curd in rice flour before frying to give them a crisp coating.  
  • Sheets (yuba, skins, wrappers) Sheets can be bought, dried, frozen or vacuum-packed. If dried, they need to be soften before use with a little water.  Fill them with rice, use to wrap food parcels, or cut into strips and use as a garnish.   They can be fried, braised or steamed.
  • Deep-fried (puffs) Sold as large cubes, usually in plastic bags and used in stir-fried and soups.  If using in soup, such as laksa, prick the skin a few times to help them absorb the flavours.  Adds at the last minute or they will soak up all the soup. 



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