Veganism is a challenging lifestyle. Vegans strive to stay away from all animal byproducts, including clothing and food. While it may be easy enough to not purchase leather, fur, or something like crocodile skin, it is not as easy to stay away from food with animal byproducts in it.
Yes, it is simple to not purchase or eat meat, but vegans desire to stay away from things like eggs, cheese, milk, etc. that come from animals. Because of this, many food items are off limits to vegans. However, one thing is not: tofu. Tofu is a Chinese food made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the curd into blocks. Tofu itself does not hold much of a taste, but it easily picks up the taste of any other food it is cooked with. Because it is molded to the food it is cooked with, cooking vegan tofu can be a little more difficult than preparing vegetarian tofu.
Whats The Difference?
To the non-vegetarian or non-vegan, vegan tofu and vegetarian tofu might seem like the same thing. In fact, when it comes straight from the store out of the package, it is. However, the way that it is prepared can make a huge difference between labeling it as vegetarian or vegan tofu. Vegans do not eat anything that comes from an animal, even if the animal is still alive (like, for example, chicken eggs or milk from a cow or goat. It did not kill the animal to get the product, but nevertheless, since it came from an animal a vegan will not consume it. So for a tofu to be a vegan tofu, it must be prepared according to vegan guidelines. If the tofu is cooked in the same pan as scrambled eggs, it is not vegan tofu. Instead, it is vegetarian tofu. If the tofu is cooked in a stir fry with broccoli, cucumbers, carrots, spinach, and soy sauce, it is both vegan tofu and vegetarian tofu. All vegan tofu will also be vegetarian tofu, but not all vegetarian tofu is vegan tofu.
How Do I Keep It Vegan?
The answer to this question is simple: do not cook the tofu with any animal byproducts if you desire it to be vegan tofu. However, implementing that answer may not be as simple. Even if you want to make a simple stir fry, you must look at the ingredients for the noodles. If they are made with eggs, then they are unacceptable for a vegan tofu dish. Some vegans even go so far as to not eat anything that was prepared with animal byproducts even if there is not animal byproduct in the finished product, like white refined sugar. If you are cooking for a vegan and do not know exactly what to do with your tofu, the simplest solution is to ask your vegan friend what to do to make it vegan tofu. He or she will know exactly what to do!