Tofu is often a object of fun.
Those who have never eaten it often laugh at it.
Even some vegetarians hesitate to try it because they fear that they may be ridiculed or simply do not know how to cook it.
But tofu is a highly nutritious food that can be cooked in variety of delicious ways.
Vegetarians and non-vegetarians can enjoy it.
What is more it has proven health benefits.
Tofu comes in two forms.
There is silken tofu which you will find on the supermarket shelf with oriental foods.
Silken tofu can be kept for a long time without refrigeration if the packet is unopened.
Once opened it must be stored in the fridge.
You will find regular tofu in the chiller department of you supermarket.
It usually comes in a plastic vacuum pack.
Both kinds of tofu come in a white block.
It looks something like cheese.
Silken tofu is widely used in J apanese cooking but both kinds of tofu can be used in most dishes that call for tofu.
When you taste tofu you will discover that there is no comparison with cheese.
it tastes of nothing.
That is the secret of cooking tofu.
You are adding the flavor.
The advantage is that tofu is endlessly adaptable.
It takes on the flavor of the herbs, spices and vegetables with which it is cooked.
You can use it in stir fries by cutting it into little cubes.
Flavor it with garlic, ginger, sesame oil, chilies or whatever you like to add to your favorite stir fry.
If you keep a block of silken tofu in the store cupboard you will always have something make a stir fry in a hurry.
Tofu can also be used for salad dressings and creamy sauces for savory or sweet dishes.
Throw either kind in the food processor with the flavorings you want to use.
For a salad dressing choose garlic, lemon juice, honey or herbs.
if you make the same dressing thicker it can be used as a spread or dip.
You might like to try it as a filling in baked potato.
Roasted vegetables with a tofu dip make a delicious first course or snack meal.
A thick paste of tofu can even be made into a burger and served in a bun.
It is an ideal vegetarian option for the barbecue.
For a sweet sauce add some honey, cinnamon perhaps, nutmeg, even chocolate or pureed fruit.
You can use the same mixture for a cheesecake recipe if you make it a little stiffer than you would for a sauce.
A few chopped nuts sprinkled on top add a variety of texture.
Tofu is a very healthy food.
It is low in fat and contains no animal fat at all.
It will not raise your cholesterol levels and is reputed to play a part in raising the level of "good" cholesterol.
The isoflavones found in soya based products such as tofu are thought to play a part in reducing the risk of cancer because they combat free radicals in the body.
Whether you use tofu as part of a vegetarian diet or a non-vegetarian diet it is a food worthy trying.