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About Tofu

Why Tofu

  • Tofu is made from Soya beans.
  • Soya beans can be eaten raw in their immature state, known as Edamame beans
  • When dried Soya beans can be cooked and used in a variety of ways. They can be fermented to produce miso or tempeh, or made into Tofu or other alternative protein products.
  • Tofu has all 8 amino acids required the body
  • It is cholesterol free.
  • It is a good protein source. Dragonfly’s Natural Tofu has 14.4g per 100g of protein.
  • Low in fat, particularly saturated fat. Dragonfly’s Tofu has 1.5g per 100g of saturated
  • Sugar-Free
  • Low Salt content with no added salt
  • It is an all-round healthy product
  • It is also an extremely versatile product and can be eaten cold or boiled, stewed, braised, grilled, roasted, barbecued, fried and many more.

History Of Tofu

It is believed that Tofu (Doufu or bean curd as it is known in China) originated in China over 2000 years ago. The precise date is unknown. There is evidence of tofu being made in a stone slab mural, depicting a kitchen scene, which dates back to 100AD. However, the first known use of the written word Doufu (Tofu) is not until 950AD.

There are four theories as to how Tofu was developed.

The Lui An Theory
Lui An was the King of Huai-nan in the North of China. It is said that he developed tofu.

The Accidental Theory
Someone in North China seasoned a pureed soybean soup, with unrefined sea salt containing natural nigari, causing the soup to curdle.

The Indian Import Theory
This theory suggests that the basic method of making tofu came from the dairying tribes or Buddist monks of India.

The Mongolian Import Theory
Suggests that the basic preparation of Tofu was learned from the cheese making process adopted by the Mongolian tribes living amongst the Chinese in the Northern Border of China.

Whichever theory is true it is widely accepted that Tofu originated in China.
During the Sung Dynasty, 960-1279 Tofu was the common food of the lower classes.

By the Ming Dynasty, 1368 – 1662 Tofu became popular with the rich as well as the poor and it was even made especially for the Emperor of China.

During the Ching Dynasty, 1662-1912 Tofu became the basic staple food of China and was the most popular soyfood.

Today Tofu is widely used in China as a form of protein. It is used as an alternative to meat, fish or chicken. The Chinese not only use Tofu in savoury dishes but also to make desserts with it. It is an extremely versatile food.

Tofu is a Japanese word. It is believed that the Kento Priests brought Tofu back to Japan during the Nara period (710-784) following a visit to China to study Buddhism. However, there is another theory that Tofu was produced by Korean prisoners of war brought to Shikoku more than four hundred years ago.

In the early Edo period 1603-1867, Tofu was a luxury food eaten by the Shogun. In the mid-Edo period, farmers could only eat Tofu on special days and were at one time forbidden to even make Tofu. Highly prized for its nutritional value in Shojin (vegetarian) cuisine, Tofu’s popularity began to spread into the wider public towards the end of the Edo period.

Now, as with China it is a staple food of Japan and widely used in its cuisine.

Western World

Tofu eventually came to the Western world. There is a mention of the word Tofu in the Spanish dictionary published in 1603. This is the first European document featuring the word Tofu.

The first English reference to Tofu was not until 1704. Tofu was first produced in France in 1880. In 1895 Hirata & Co of San Francisco started producing Tofu. The first westerner to commercially produce Tofu on a large scale was T.A. Van Gundy in 1929 from his company, La Sierra Industries, in California.

The Tofu industry is now massive. In 1982 it consisted of an estimated 245,000 manufacturers worldwide including, 30,000 in Japan, 200,000 in China, 11,000 in Indonesia, 2,500 in Korea, 1,500 in Taiwan, and 225 in the Western World.

However, there are only a handful of Tofu manufacturers in the UK of which we are proud to be one of the largest.

In an ever-increasing, health conscience society Tofu is gaining more popularity. Why not check out some of our recipes you will be amazed, including meat eaters, by the results you get.


How To Make Tofu

The process for making Tofu is not dissimilar to producing cheese. Dried Soya beans are soaked in water overnight, then crushed and boiled in water. The Soymilk is then separated from the bean pulp (Okara). The soymilk is then curdled whilst still hot. There are several different curdling agents that can be used for this process. The traditional Japanese method uses Nigari, as we do here at Dragonfly. Nigari is produced from the salts derived from the Japan Sea. Once the soymilk has curdled the curds are then pressed to form solid blocks of Tofu. The Tofu can be soft (known as silken Tofu) or firm depending on the amount of Nigari used in the curding process.

Tofu Facts

542,000 people in Britain now following a vegan diet and never consume any animal products including meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs and honey.

This is a huge increase of 363% since last estimate of 150,000 10 years ago, making veganism one of Britain’s fastest growing lifestyle movements.

Movement is being driven by young people making more ethical and compassionate choices – close to half of all vegans are in the 15-34 age category (42%) compared to just 14% who are over 65.

Reasons for reducing meat consumption:

21% of people do it to save money.
20% of people have concerns about animal welfare.
19% of people have concerns about food safety in relation to meat.
11% of people have environmental concerns.
*Key findings, report commissioned by the Vegetarian Society, carried out by NatCen’s British Social Attitudes published in February 2016.

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