ToFu or Not ToFu?
That is the question.
Until recently, tofu has played a rather dubious role in my culinary experience. This rather innocuous substance was viewed with ambivalence. Did I like it or not? A few years ago, I would’ve only eaten tofu if it had been deep fried or covered in a rich sauce. I did not think much of it in its virgin state and the bland taste did nothing to excite my tastebuds. A friend even likened it to eating cardboard (makes me wonder about his eating habits).
Last year a group of us went to Ishigakijima and we stayed at a hotel that served traditional japanese breakfast. Fresh tofu was on the menu. Pure, unadulterated tofu. My girlfriend, who is Japanese, came rushing over and plonked two dishes of this off-white goop in front of my partner and I.
“You HAVE to try this. This is really delicious! Just like my mum used to make. You’ll love it”, she enthused. I doubt it, I thought to myself as I eyed the bowl suspiciously and judging from the expression on my partner’s face, he also shared the same thoughts. As I cautiously tasted the cool, gelatinous substance, a strange thing occurred.My tastebuds were reacting positively. There was a subtle, fresh flavour which was hard to describe. I had to eat my words, or in this case, the tofu. “Why does this taste so different to the tofu I’ve had previously? There’s no sauce added and yet it has so much flavour”, I was amazed at the difference. It came down to the quality and freshness of the ingredients.
I have been a convert of tofu since then and have been trying to get others to enjoy the subtle nuances as well. This has been met with much resistance from some of my friends, so I’ve had to resort to ‘dressing’ up the tofu dish. I’ve been experimenting with different flavours that enhance rather than mask the flavours of this much maligned product.
Fresh tofu with plum tomatoes, avocado and garlic cayenne dressing – All Organic!
I’ve had a few converts but there are still a few who not only dislike tofu but also claim that it’s bad for the health! One of my colleagues was adamant that Plaster of Paris was used as key ingredient and another believed that it caused arthritis, dementia and other serious diseases. I did a bit of research and lo and behold! there are many reports out there cautioning on the dangers of consuming too much tofu. Now I am rather bewildered.
Is tofu good for you or not?