Tofu is a popular source of protein that is popular among vegans. After all, tofu is a versatile ingredient that can be used in so many ways. However, a common question always seems to surface regarding tofu. Is it cooked or raw?
What is Tofu?
Tofu is a product produced from soybeans. It is loaded with protein and low fat. It can be used as a replacement for meat and dairy, which is why it is popular among folks on a plant-based diet.
Most stores stock tofu. It is available in silken, firm, extra-firm, or soft varieties.
Is Tofu Already Cooked?
Yes, tofu is already fully cooked. There is no need to cook tofu since it was never raw in the first place. You can literally open a package of tofu and eat it right out of the container.
Tofu is produced by boiling soybeans. The boiling process splits soybeans into solids and liquids. Next, magnesium salt or calcium is added to cause the soy milk to create curds. These curds are pressed into blocks of tofu.
Tofu is made at high temperatures. Commercial tofu is cooked over high heat to pasteurize it even after the block is pressed and cooled down.
Therefore, tofu purchased from the grocery store is thoroughly cooked, so it is safe to eat.
What Does Raw Tofu Taste Like?
The flavor of raw tofu depends on the type of tofu you are consuming.
For example, silken tofu has a high water profile, especially when it’s raw. Soft tofu also has a high water profile.
Both soft and silken tofu has bland flavors. You may want to mix them into something to give them a bit of flavor instead of eating soft or silken tofu out of the pack.
In contrast, firm tofu will have a moister texture when eaten out of the pack. This is why some recipes call for pressing tofu to eliminate some of the water.
Fermented tofu has the boldest flavors of all tofu available on the market. This flavor is even more pronounced when fermented tofu is consumed raw and by itself.
Can You Get Food Poisoning From Tofu?
Generally speaking, it’s highly unlikely that you will get food poisoning from eating raw tofu as long as you handle it correctly. Tofu is no different from any other food, which means there is still the risk of it being contaminated and making you sick.
Additionally, the tofu may have also been exposed to bacteria via pasteurization. Common pathogens associated with tofu are Clostridium botulinum, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Listeria monocytogenes.
Nevertheless, you are more likely to get sick from fermented tofu than from commercial tofu.
However, it does not mean that you will get sick from eating raw tofu. Remember, it is not really raw since it is cooked at high temperatures.
Compared to meats like chicken and beef and even salad greens, tofu is least likely to make you sick as long as the tofu is handled with care.
How To Use Tofu
Tofu can be utilized in so many different ways. You can even eat tofu right out of the container as a snack. Drain the water from the tofu container before eating it.
You can also add tofu to smoothies. In fact, adding tofu is the perfect way to increase your protein intake.
Additionally, the tofu will absorb the flavors of the other ingredients, so you won’t be able to taste it. It will also thicken the smoothie giving it a creamy texture.
You can also add tofu to your salad. Simply drain and press the tofu and slice it into small cubes before adding it to your salad. The tofu will soak up the flavor from the dressing.
Lastly, you can also add use tofu as a dairy substitute in foods such as ice cream or products that use yogurt or even drinks. Simply place the tofu into a blender and blend it until smooth.
How To Cook Tofu
Tofu is an all-around versatile ingredient that can be eaten raw or cooked. While it is delicious raw, depending on how you use it, it is so much better cooked that I’m going to show how to cook it 2 different ways.
How To Bake Tofu
Wrap the extra-firm tofu with paper towels and place it onto a baking sheet. Place another baking sheet on top of the tofu.
Arrange a heavy object on top of the tofu like a cast-iron skillet. Press the tofu for 30 minutes.
Set the oven to 425°F.Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and place them into a bowl. Add 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch to the toff and toss to coat the tofu in the cornstarch.
Place the tofu onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle it with oil and salt. Bake the tofu for 20-25 minutes until it is golden brown and crispy. Toss the baked tofu in your favorite sauce before serving.
How To Grill Tofu
You can also grill tofu. Simply heat your kamado grill to a temperature between 375° and 450° (medium-high). Press the extra-firm tofu using the method mentioned above.
Whisk mirin, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, and olive oil together. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch slices and brush each tofu slice with the sauce.
Grill the tofu slices for 2-3 minutes per side until slightly charred but not burned. The tofu should easily release from the grill’s grates.
Place the tofu onto a plate and coat it with the remaining sauce. Unlike raw meat, tofu is already cooked. You do not need to separate the sauce before adding it to the tofu or reheat the sauce to 160°F.
Tofu is an incredible plant-based substitute. Best of all, tofu is already cooked, so you do not need to pull out a skillet and cook it.
If you’re feeling lazy, you can simply tear open the package and eat the tofu as it is without fear that it will make you sick.