Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"How to cook tofu & 2 Great Tofu Recipes!"

Cooking Tofu &
Some Tofu Recipes to help get you started!!!
So I started the day in Little Tokyo around 9:30am not really sure what I, Tofujii, should discover next about "Tofu." Since I am a Tofu, I really do not know how to "prepare" myself or my family members. So my curiosity pushed my to jump on the World Wide Web this morning and find out just how to "cook me and other like me," haha.

I found a website called "Ivillage" which features many interesting things about Tofu including "How to cook Tofu," "Nutrious facts about Tofu," "the flexibility and advantages of Tofu," and finally, "2 great Tofu Recipes." The general website is http://www.food.ivillage.com/ and the website featuring the article and recipes is www.food.ivillage.com/mainingredient/vegetarian/0,,308,00.html .

The Tofu article features a woman that asks a question about Tofu and the validity that it is "healthy for you."

Q: "Hi, I have heard tofu is really good for you. Do you have any suggestions for how to cook with it? Rebecca"

A: "Dear Rebecca, Tofu (soybean curd) is an excellent source of protein, calcium, iron, potassium, and even has a generous amount of fiber. It is low in saturated fat and sodium and is cholesterol-free making it heart healthy. These qualities and the versatile nature of tofu make it popular, especially among vegetarian chefs."

"From a cooking perspective, tofu itself is bland; it does however absorb the flavors of other ingredients that it comes in contact, making it extremely versatile. Another interesting feature of tofu: it may be eaten uncooked or cooked, meaning it can be great in a salad or a stir-fry.
Do note: tofu does not stand up to long periods of cooking, so when making a mixture, the tofu should be added at the last minute, heated through, and then removed from the heat. I have included my two favorite tofu recipes, a stir-fry and a main dish salad" (IVillage Website).

I as a Tofu, am so very proud of myself to be such a "low sodium," "heart-healthy" and "fexible and easy to prepare" food that can be paired with just about everything!!!

Also, there was even a paragraph that talks about the "prevention of stomach cancer, breat cancer, and tumors for humans and animals alike" when eating soy products such as Tofu, Miso (a Japanese based Soy bean curd), etc. I will post this info onto a separate blog that discusses about "Tofu and overal health."

I found the 2 recipes and the Tofu article under the "Food category" and under the "Vegitarian section." On this same page, you will also find a link entitled "How Soy-Savvy Are You?" which is a Soy Quiz!!! This "Soy Quiz" tests your knowledge of how much you know about "Soy."

I, Tofujii, dare you to take "the Soy challenge!!!" You just don't know how much there is to learn about Tofu and Soy!

The website reads "Soy is often called a "super food" because of its impressive nutritional profile. How much do you know about soy and what it can do for you? Test yourself now. by Lynn Grieger, R.D."

I think that this "Soy Test" is a very fun way to learn about the "healthy" things that soy products can do for you!!! (Please see my link above and simply click the link to begin playing). Arigatou (Thank you)!

Featuring Delicious Tofu Recipes: Let the Cooking begin!!!

~"Spicy Vegetable Tofu Stir Fry" ~

"For best results, marinade the tofu overnight. If however you are rushing, 20 minutes will suffice. I also enjoy the full list of vegetables; yet, if you don't have all items on hand - don't despair, simply use what is in your refrigerator. Finally, you can feel confident substituting dry spices: for example, you may use 1 teaspoon dried ginger instead of the fresh and 1/4 teaspoon chili powder instead of the minced chile peppers.

1/2 cup stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon peeled minced ginger root
1 tablespoon minced chile peppers
1 cup cubed tofu
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 diced onion
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup cauliflower florets
1/2 cup peas
2 cups cooked rice

Mix together the stock, soy sauce, garlic, ginger root, and chile peppers in a small bowl. Add the tofu cubes and marinate, preferabbly 3 to 24 hours. Heat a large wok or frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil, onion, bell pepper, and carrots. Saute for five minutes. Remove the tofu from the marinade with a slotted spoon and add the marinade to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, and peas and cook for 1 minute. Add the tofu, cover, and cook until the vegetables are crisp tender, about 2-3 minutes. Serve over hot rice. "

~"My Favorite Tofu Salad"~

"This salad has a lovely oriental taste and a crunchy texture that compliments the softness of the tofu. For the best flavor marinate the tofu overnight in the marinade. Rice wine vinegar is a very mild vinegar that allows you to cut the amount of oil in recipes. If you do not have rice wine vinegar, use your favorite vinegar and double the amount of oil used (or to taste).

Tofu Marinade:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 clove minced garlic
2 teaspoons sugar
black pepper
pinch ground anise (if you have it)
1 pound cubed tofu
Vegetable Marinade:
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
black pepper
2 julienned carrots
2 sliced celery stalks
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
5 sliced scallions

Mix together all of the ingredients for the tofu marinade and refrigerate for at least three hours. Mix together the ingredients for the vegetable marinade and refrigerate for one hour. Gently toss the ingredients together and serve chilled. Best wishes, Wen Zientek"

*Please remember that these recipes are from the Ivillage Wesbite (not my own) and the creative chiefs who shared this information are mentioned above as well. All rights reserved.

This is Tofujii writing, so until next time, please don't ever stop thinking about Tofu, because the 2007 Tofu Festival is just around the corner!!!=)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Japanese-style Tofu Dishes

Japanese Dishes:
Tofu with a Japanese "CULTURAL" Twist

Japanese cuisine and it's many dishes include not only cold or hot tofu, but also tofu as a "topping" that serves a purpose similar to a "condiment" or as a "companion" to an already delicious and sensually hot or cold Japanese noodle soup.

Today, July 19, 2007, I went to eat at a resturant named "Mr. Ramen" which is located at 341 1/2 E. 1st St., Los Angeles, Ca 90012, with the nearest cross-street being Alameda St. Located in the heart of Little Tokyo, just near the famous Japanese American National Musuem (JANM) and the Museum of Metropolitan Art (MOCA), this very cute resturant is centred amongst a long row of small Japanese, Chinese, and Korean restaurants.

The restaurant first caught "my eye" when I saw the vivid pictures of wonderful ramen soups and a Japanese menu (in Japanese and English) pasted on to the outside wall of the resturant featuring delicious "Tofu dishes" which include, to name only a few, Curry Rice with extra Tofu toppings, a side order of "Cold Tofu," a delicious, asthectically beautiful, and tongue-tasting Tofu seaweed salad with a soy sauce dressing and a "lemon companion," extra delicious Ramen soup such as Chashu Pork Ramen (please see pictures above) with yet again, an option to add an additional Tofu toppings on top, which I most eagerly did, with a variety of other "companion toppings" to go along with Tofu (such as seaweed, garlic, and spinach).
All of these additions make for a great mix and match of Tofu.Finally, this great and friendly resturant offers entire "entrees" of very traditional, Japanese "bento boxes," that consists of steamed rice, soup, salad, and includes a choice of "Cold Tofu" (please see pictures above). These "bento boxes" divide the food dishes in to different, separate squares, and one of these squares consists of a beautiful white and silk tofu with ginger shavings on top and other toppings. The very nice restuarant hostess showed me pictures of the "bento boxes with Tofu" because I could not eat and try all of their many dishes. I definitely plan to come back and eat their again!!! =)
Finally, as Tofujii traveling around the Little Tokyo a.k.a. Nihon Machi area, I wanted to share with all of you a great discription of the great-tasting Tofu dishes that I tried. I actually "stuffed myself" with three very tasty dishes all featuring "Tofu."
As mentioned above with pictures to show, 1) I ate the "Tofu Seaweed Salad" which consists of tofu cubes centered, laid in a row, and cutt in to long-rectangle shaped cubes, on a bed of seaweed and salad, with a cup of soy sauce dressing on the side. 2) I ordered a "side order" of "Cold Tofu" that had a cute, medium-sized Tofu cubes stacked on-top of eachother like a "small Tofu pyramid" with pinkish ginger shavings on top, with even the shavings being "circular" and "spiral-shaped." Lastly, 3) I ordered a huge bowl of Japanese Chashu Ramen with an extra helping of Tofu, a traditional noodle-soup with Chinese flavored thick and juicy pork slices.Ramen is a soup with a soy sauce-based broth and includes vegetables such as green onion and slices of hard-boiled egg, along with buckwheet noodles. All these condiments and toppings complimented my Tofu topping greatly, but being Tofujii, I wanted to "experiment further." I did so by "adding" the Japanese-brand soy sauce called "Kikkoman" and Japanese red seasoning (like a pepper seasoning) to my soup. I loved these two condiments most, to go with me, Tofujii!
So until next time, ja mata!!! (See you again).I hope to bring you a Chinese-food perspective next time!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tofu:Multi-cultural and Multi-ethnic

Tofu: Multi-cultural and Multi-ethnic

  • The Multi-cultural and Mult-ethnic uses for "Tofu" is seen in many ethnic and cultural dishes. These dishes range from Japanese to Korean, to Vietnamese and Thai dishes within the Asian region.

  • From my perspective, I wonder what types of dishes would I "fit" best with, being Tofujii? Tofu is also enjoyed in many Western cuisines, so I am even found in American homes and in American cookbooks, if you can imagine.
  • Within American cooking, diet and cuisines, Tofu is gradually making its way into American homes!!! Just thinking from off the top of my head, during those long and hot summer months, I can even be used to accompany "easy-to-make" Tofu salads as a cute and cold topping (very good for your health and weight) or mixed in, to be used as a meat substitute, to make "mouth-watering" Tofu burgers for you vegatarians. If you can't live without meat, but still want to stay "semi-healthy" then you can always sprinkle me on top of your most favorite types of burgers and condiments. yum yum. =)

  • Tofu is no longer simply just an "Asian cuisine," it's a "worldwide phenomena" that is sweeping the country! Tofu is something that can be marketed to the entire country and around the world to all different kinds of people! Even cultures and peoples that never knew of Tofujii in their diets before, are now adapting and adopting it. I, as Tofujii, will never have to worry about having a home to stay at, when traveling abroad! This makes me very, very happy. =)
  • As the popularity of "Tofu" becomes larger and larger, so does the image of "Tofu" begin to grow even wider, to include a more vast and more encompassing perspective of Tofu as both a delicacy and also as a "light food phenomena."

Tofujii,representing!!! Until next time! Stay tuned for my future blogs, coming to a blog near you!

Korean Tofu: A unique cultural perspective

  • Last week on Thursday, July 12, 2007, I visited a Korean barbeque resturant named Korean Kitchen Hibachi B.B.Q. It is located at 135 Japanese Village Plaza Mall at the center of the Japanese Village Plaza located in Little Tokyo. I, Tofujii, decided to try out their delicious and tasty "Seasoned Tofu" to see just how tasty this Korean "Tofu" or "Dubu" (in Korean) really was.

  • After all, "Dubu" was my Korean cousin that I had always wanted to visit, but couldn't because of my location, but here was my chance to visit him in Little Tokyo!

  • This "Seasoned Tofu" is sprinkled with shavings of Kimchi (a Korean pickled cabbage) and has dried seaweed on top called "Gim". Since you can order the Tofu either "hot" or "cold,"as an appetizer, it is a great dish to try in order to quench your pallete, before moving on to the traditional Korean BBQ dishes. Even during my very spicy lunch, while eating the Korean BBQ chicken and bowl of white rice, I simultaneously ate some more cubes of this very mouth-watering, sensual, and spicy Tofu.

  • Lastly, I very much loved that my cousin, Dubu, was a great compliment to the Yamanasa Soy Sauce that was "paired" with him (please see picture above). Pairing "Tofu" a.k.a. me "Tofujii," with "Soy Sauce," is a great idea and one that, as my paletal experience suggests, goes great with any "Tofu" dishes.
  • I can't wait to write another blog about Tofu and it's many condiments that it can be paired with!!! =)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My First Blog: The healthyness of Tofu =)

"The healthyness of Tofu"
Written by: Tofujii

I never really thought about the "healthyness" of Tofu. Since I started volunteering for the Tofu Festival since 1995, I always took forgranted that delicious "Tofu" was the theme of the food festival. I assumed that all Japanese and Asian people naturally ate Tofu as a part of our "cultural diet."

I then realized that Tofu is actually "very healthy" for you due to a variety of reasons. One reason is that Tofu is a soy-based product and soy is argueably healthier then milk and other dairy products. Soy has been known to help women especially, such as those of an older age from a variety of ailments. Myself being "lactose intolerant," I absolutely rely on "Tofu" as my source for a healthy diet and to maintain my overall health.=)

Finally, I think that Tofu has so many varieties within my "Tofu Family" that I need to explore. I look forward to blogging about my future adventures coming across several types of Tofu, and tasting them, to see if they are my "perfect match!" I know that there is a "perfect Tofu" out there for everyone! I just need to explore Little Tokyo, so come join me, Tofujii, as I go on my "Tofu Expedition" to find my "perfect condiment!"