The Book of Tofu

Soybean pods, foto: public domain

One would think of soybeans as just another edible plant. There are people however, for whom soy has proved to be much beyond a source of protein. Akiko Aoyagi and William Shurtleff have been continually researching the world of the soy bean from the 70’s, making it their life-project. Their wide ranging investigations on history, culture, gastronomy, dietary sciences and food technology resulted in many publications. They wrote about any soyfood you can think of: yuba (soybean curds), tofu, natto (whole fermented soybeans), miso, soy sauce.

Their unceasing enthusiasm in promoting the soybean as a source of cheap, environment-friendly protein comes from a belief in it’s potential to become a cure for the world food crisis. Their aim is to teach future generations about energy-efficient and sustainable ways to produce nurishing soy products.

You can read more about their project on their website soy info center.

In my cookbook’s collection I have one of their volumes: “The Book of Tofu”. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the process of making tofu. It provides hundreds of versatile, both japanese and western style recipes for tofu and also for the by-products of the tofu making process (if you take up the challenge to make it yourself from scratch. I did and it’s awesome!)

Below I share a few recipes from the book. I hope they will provide inspiration for those of you who would like to try out something new.

Leafy toasts with green tea for a noon snack, yum!

####Tofu-Nut Butter Spread or Topping

Serve as is on whole-grain bread or crackers, together with sprouts and fresh veggies in sandwiches, or as topping for fresh or cooked vegetables.

Combine ingredients and mash together with a fork. For a crunchier texture add raisins and peanuts or sunflower seeds.

####Tofu Tartare Sauce

Combine 1/4 cup pickles with the next five ingredients and puree in a blender until smooth. Cmbine with the remaining pickles and other ingredients and mix well. Serve with deep-fried tofu and tofu/vegetable croquettes.

####Tofu-Sweet Potato Croquettes

Combine the first six ingredients in a large bowl; mix well. Shape into 2,5-inch patties, roll in bread crumbs, and tap lightly to remove excess crumbs. Set aside to dry for 5-10 minutes. Heat the oil to 350 degrees in a wok, skillet or deep-fryer. Slide in the croquettes and deep-fry until golden brown, drain briefly. Serve with Mayonnaise or Tartare Sauce.

For variation substitute 1 cup parboiled corn kernels for 1 cup sweet potato. Dust patties with flour and deep in lightly beaten egg before rolling in bread crumbs. You can substitute potatoes with any grain or vegetable leftovers from your kitchen. The tofu will help keep it all together.

####Tangy Tofu-Prune Puree

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. For best flavour, chill for several hours before serving. Delicious also as a breakfast fruit dish or topping for buttered toast.