A common cooking technique in many parts of East and Southeast Asia involves deep frying tofu in vegetable oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil to varied results. With the exception of the softest tofus, all forms of tofu can be fried. Thin and soft varieties of tofu are deep fried in oil until they are light and airy in their core .Although tofu is often sold preprocessed into fried items, pre-fried tofu is seldom eaten directly and requires additional cooking.
Depending on the type of tofu used, the texture of deep fried tofu may range from crispy on the outside and custardy on the inside, to puffed up like a plain doughnut. Fried tofu can be prepared either in savory or sweet dishes, acting as a bland background for presenting the flavors of the other ingredients used. As a method of flavoring it is often marinaded in soy sauce, chilis, sesame oil, etc. The former is usually eaten plain in Chinese cuisine with garlic soy sauce, while the latter is either stuffed with fish paste or cooked in soups.
How to select
When buying individually wrapped tofu, check the expiration date on the package-this date is valid as long as the package has not been opened. Freezing makes tofu more rubbery and gives it a yellowish-white color, but once thawed, frozen tofu can be used just like fresh tofu.
· In Asian cooking, fried tofu is eaten in myriad ways, including raw, stewed, stir-fried, in soup, cooked in sauce, or stuffed with fillings
· Fried tofu may be eaten on their own or with a light sauce, or further cooked in liquids;
· They are also added to hot pot dishes or included as part of the vegetarian dishes.
· Soft tofu that has been thinly sliced and deep fried, known as aburage in Japan, is commonly blanched, seasoned with soy sauce and pepper .They are then added to meat or vegetable preparations.
· Fried tofu is sometimes also cut open to form a pocket and stuffed with sushi rice.
How to store
Packaged tofu can be kept for a maximum of 90 days unopened in the refrigerator.
· Tofu is low in calories, contains a relatively large amount of iron and contains little fat. The tofu may also be high in calcium and/or magnesium.
· Tofu also contains soy isoflavones, which can mimic natural human estrogens and may have a variety of harmful or beneficial effects when eaten in sufficient quantities.
· Tofu is relatively high in protein, about 10.7% for firm tofu and 5.3% for soft "silken" tofu with about 2% and 1% fat respectively as a percentage of weight.
· The soy protein is correlated with significant decreases in serum cholesterol, Low Density Lipoprotein LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglyceride concentrations.