tofu - (TOH-foo) - Made from soybean curd, tofu is rich in high-grade protein. It is a cheese-like food made by curdling fresh soymilk. The curds are pressed into cakes and textures vary from soft to firm depending on how much water is extracted during processing. It also has no cholesterol and is easily digestible. Tofu varieties include "cotton" and "silk," firm and soft, respectively. Tofu is stored in water and should be thoroughly drained just before cooking. Changing the water daily will keep it fresh longer. In addition to being served chilled, tofu appears in soups, nabe (refers to a variety of communal one-pot meals), and simmered, and deep-fried dishes. Tofu was first made in China approximately 2000 years ago. Tofu can be used in place of sour cream, yogurt, or mayonnaise in dips, spreads, and salad dressings. It can also be used as a meat extender by mixing it with ground meat before shaping into loaves or patties.
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