Archive for October 2009




Tofu

  • Originated in China around 200 BC & so many by-products of soy constitute an imp part of Chinese diet.
  • Introduced to Japan around 8th century AD through Buddhist priests. Eating it was thought to promote longevity.
  • Soy products isoflavones, linoleic acid(unsaturated fatty acid), both lower cholesterol.
  • Low in calories, increase amount of friendly bacteria in the gut so preventing constipation & reducing BP.
  • High in antioxidants, so protects against heart disease & some cancers.
  • High calcium in it protects against osteoporosis.
  • Relieves some symptoms of menopause.
  • Due to subtle flavor & soft texture, works well in all kinds of dishes.
  • It is eaten plain/marinated, coated in flour & deep fried/roasted, added to soups/stir fries.
  • Available fresh or in vacuum packs. Water need to be drained before use.
  • Soya beans are soaked, boiled, mashed & then sieved to produce soy milk. Curds are then produced with the addition of a coagulant, and, while warm, set in moulds for sev hrs. Finally, tofu is released into h20 tank to firm & cool further. Cotton cloths are laid across the base of moulds to absorb excess h20, which rslts in distinct in a distinct cloth mark on tofu block.
  • Silken tofu is made from thicker soya milk & isn’t drained.
  • Tofu & tempeh from Indonesia are closely related.
  • Our body protein is made up of a number of amino acids & the protein found in soybeans provides same kind.
  • Our bodies can absorb 95% of the protein in tofu, b’cos the manufacturing process removes the less digestible parts of beans. So good for babies, elderly, convalescents, & vegans.
  • Firm tofu has a slightly grainy texture & breaks easily, so blanch pieces or briefly fry in oil to harden before stir frying/braising.  Since bland in flavour, use with flavoursome ingredients. Doesn’t freeze well. Stays in friz for weeks if kept submerged in water.
  • Silken tofu is the original Japanese type. Since soft, added at the last minute to dishes. It imparts a rich creamy texture & takes on intense flavours. So perfect low-fat alternative to dairy products like cheese, yogurt, cream etc, especially for those who are lactose intolerant. Fresh tofu shd be stored in friz & used within 1wk. Vacuum packed type doesn’t need to be stored in friz, it shdn’t be frozen.
  • Marinated/pressed tofu is compressed fresh tofu, which is then marinated in soy sauce+chinese 5-spice powder, which colors outside a rich dark brown, while the inside remains white.
  • Smoked tofu is smoked firm tofu for stir fries, salads etc.
  • Frozen tofu: It is very different from others with spongy texture & rich flavour, even after soaking in water, & doesn’t disintegrate however long it is cooked.
  • Deep fried tofu: Firm tofu cubes are deep fried in oil to golden brown.
  • Bean curd skins: The thin skins skimmed off with a stick in a single action skillfully & hung up to dry while the soy milk is boiling. When dry, the milk forms a flat sheet or skin. They shd be soaked in h2o fro 1-2hrs before cooking. They have little flavor of their own but readily absorb flavours of other ingredients.
  • Bean curd sticks are made the same way as skins but when the skin is still warm, it is rolled up & dried. They need to be soaked overnight. They have little flavor of their own but readily absorb flavours of other ingredients.
  • Tempeh is similar to tofu, but with a nuttier, more savoury flavour & firmer texture. It is Indonesian speciality. Cooked soy beans are fermented with a culture. Can be frozen for 1mth.
  • Textured vegetable protein(TVP) was specially designed as a replacement for meat & is made from processed soy beans. Sold in dry chunks or ground, so needs to be rehydrated with boiling water/stock.
  • Soy sauce is fermented 6mths to 3yrs crushed soy beans+salt+h2o+yeast based culture. It is called naturally brewed/fermented. Some are chemically prepared to speed up the fermentation. There are 2basic types, light & dark. Light soy sauce is saltier & slightly thinner, used in dressings, soups, & as a condiment. Dark soy sauce is heavier, sweeter, used in marinades, stir-fries & sauces. Once opened, store in friz.
  • Shoyu is Japanese soy sauce, quite salty with strong colour, aged for up to 2yrs to produce a mellow sauce that can be used as a sushi dip.
  • Tamari is soy sauce, made without wheat, is a by-product of miso production. It has a rich, robust flavor.
  • Miso is thick paste made from fermented cooked soy beans+rice+wheat/barley+salt+h20 for up to 3yrs. There are 3strengths: white miso is the lightest & sweetest. Medium miso, preferred for the everyday use, is mellow. Dark miso has a thick texture & a strong flavour. Keep open miso in friz.
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Add a comment October 5, 2009

Sprouts

  1. Considered “wonder foods” & powerhouses of nutritional goodness & life energy.
  2. Grow in any climate, rival meat in nutritional value, mature in 3 to 5 days, requires neither soil or sunshine, & can be eaten raw!
  3. In the process of sprouting, the vitamins, minerals & protein increase dramatically with corresponding decrease in calories & carbohydrates.
  4. Many carbohydrate molecules are broken down during sprouting to allow an absorption of atmospheric N2 & reforming into amino-acids. The resultant protein is the most easily digestible of all proteins, as food predigested by enzymes.
  5. During sprouting, the beans lose their objectionable gas producing quality.
  6. Contain a lot of fiber & h20, thus are very helpful in overcoming constipation.
  7. Safest & best way of getting the advantage of both fruits & vegetables without harmful insecticides.
  8. Ensure that seeds & dried beans are fresh & unsprayed & packaged as food. Old beans don’t sprout.
  9. Seeds packaged for planting purposes may contain mercury compounds or other toxic chemicals.
  10. Main factors for germination are water, air, heat & darkness.
  11. Wash 1c beans thoroughly & soak o.night in 5c warm water. Next day, drain, place the beans in a colander. Place the colander in a big bowl & place a lid over it. This ensures airflow in the soaked beans & prevents rotting. Rinse the soaked beans with h20 twice a day for the next 2 days. The seeds will germinate & sprout in 2-3 days depending on the temperature & humidity.
  12. Will keep in friz for up to 6wks, but freshes is better.
  13. Freezes well, so freeze in large qty’s & use in soups, stir-fry’s, dals, vegetable or fried rice.
  14. Grains that can be sprouted: Wheat, maize, ragi, barley.
  15. Seeds that can be sprouted: Alfalfa, radish, fenugreek, carrot, coriander, pumpkin, muskmelon.
  16. Legumes that can be sprouted: Mung, bengal gram, groundnut, peas.

Add a comment October 3, 2009

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