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In taste and value race, tofu emerges tops

For vegetarians, tofu is a nutritious yet low in calories alternative to paneer, which lends itself to sweets and savouries

Published: 22nd September 2013 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th September 2013 03:42 PM   |  A+A-

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Being a vegetarian, I love my paneer, be it in any form. Bhurjee Punjabi style, with peas, kofta, patty or steaks with extra French fries—I love them all.

Recently, it was my dietitian who recommended tofu as a healthier option to paneer. While it is an acquired taste, it makes sense to adopt tofu to replace high-calorie desi paneer. And why not. If one can  get more nutrients and less of the unwanted calories, any such change is more than welcome.

Today I am going to share some delicious mouth watering tofu recipes which not only taste good but take care of those unsightly bulges as well.

Tofu, also known as  bean curd, is a food made by coagulating soy milk and thereafter pressing the resulting curd into soft white blocks.

It is commonly used  in many East Asian and South East Asian cuisines. There are many different varieties of tofu, including fresh tofu and tofu that has been processed in some  special way such as fermented tofu, pickled tofu, extra firm tofu, silken tofu, savoury tofu, dried tofu and sweet tofu. Then there are the frozen varieties such as thousand layered tofu or Koya-dofu (sold as frozen chunk in Japanese markets) which are thawed before using them and even stinky tofu.

Since Tofu has a subtle flavour, it can be used in savoury and sweet dishes. It may be seasoned or marinated to suit the cuisine.

Tofu is said to have originated in ancient China,  about 2,000 years ago. Chinese legends ascribe its invention to prince Liu An   (179–122 BC). Tofu and its production technique was then introduced in Korea  and Japan. It spread to other parts of East Asia as well. This may have been related to the spread of Budhism because it is an important source of protein in a vegetarian diet.

Tofu has a low calorie count, relatively large amounts of protein and little fat. It is high in iron and depending on the coagulant used in manufacturing, may also be high in calcium or magnesium.

Four reasons why one should have tofu: It is a good  source of Selenium , which is a mineral needed by our body for the proper functioning of the antioxidant system. It also offers protection against colon cancer.

Tofu has a very high calcium content, much needed by women during menopause.

Another important reason to eat tofu is that it helps slow the aging process. Also, instead of splurging on expensive treatments for hair loss, try eating tofu in your meals.

Amazing isn’t it that such a humble food item can have so many benefits.Lately I have noticed some Indian eateries using tofu in their menus. Hopefully, it will be a trend that will catch up quickly.

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