White and wobbly, tofu (also called bean curd) is extremely versatile and, with the right addition of flavours, can be delicious. It’s made from cooked soya beans, is quite bland in flavour and responds well to marinades. It's also high in calcium and vitamin E and low in saturated fats. Tofu is high in protein and other minerals and is cholesterol-free.
Tofu is available in firm, soft or 'silken' textures. It's also available ready-flavoured - smoked, spiced or marinated.
Beancurd (tofu) is usually sold packed in water in plastic packets or containers. For an extra-chewy, meaty texture, freeze firm tofu first, defrost and press before cooking.
Firm tofu is best used as a meat substitute and is good for stir-frying, barbecuing and grilling. If deep-frying, the tofu should be pressed between several layers of kitchen towel to remove any excess moisture.
Softer tofu can be used to make salad dressings, dips and pâtés, puddings, pie fillings, etc.