Monday, December 13, 2004
the fabulous TOKWA
one thing that people don't know about me is that one of my favorite food is tokwa...as in really. my sister was wondering why i loved tokwa when in fact it is so bland...so normal...plus she keeps on telling that to be able to enjoy tokwa you need to use it just as an auxilliary ingredient, meaning just as an accessory ingredient, something that is added but is not essential.
why don't we take time to get to know tokwa and enjoy its funky taste. Tokwa is also known as bean curd, tokwa is an extremely versatile, protein-rich, low-fat food whose history goes back more than 2,000 years to the Western Han Dynasty of China. Fresh tokw is available in well-stocked supermarkets either fresh-packed in water or vacuum-packed in dated containers. Fresh tokwa should be used within 1 week of purchase, with change of packing water every other day. Seasoned tokwa is a firm, dense tokwa produced by extracting the water under pressure and subsequently cooking with soy sauce and seasonings) Chinese markets sell five-spice bean curd, a seasoned tokwa with a distinctive anise flavor.
If you love tokwa bought from supermarket, you will be surprised how much better is freshly-made tokwa. Making tofu at home from scratch is time consuming and difficult without the help of a soymilk maker. tokwa is made from soy milk.
tokwa has an image problem. Even chefs/cook will sometimes claim it lacks flavor. And it's true that the custard-like white substance - also known as soybean curd - doesn't look very appetizing. but still, tokwa has a lot going for it.
nutritionally speaking, it's high in calcium and vitamins, but low in fat and sodium. tokwamakes a great meat substitute, not only for vegetarians, but also for individuals who have trouble digesting meat, or suffer from medical conditions such as chronic heartburn. And if that isn't enough, tokwa has been credited with offering protection against diseases such as cancer and osteoporosis.
of course, that does leave the not so small matter of flavor.
There is no question that, served alone, tokwa tastes rather bland. The beauty of bean curd is that it absorbs the flavors of the food it is cooked with. Picture a large white sponge and you've got the basic idea. Besides blandness, another common complaint about tokwa is the texture. However, today you can choose from a wide variety of tokwa that vary from firm to extra firm, which are fairly dense and solid, to soft, which is more jello-like. There is also silken tokwa, which has a creamy, custard-like texture, and also comes in varying degrees of firmness. The firmer tokwas are recommended for stir-fries and grilling, while soft tokwa works well in soups and silken tokwa is great for blended dishes like pudding. But there are no rules - it all depends on your own preference. Recipes normally specify which type of tokwa to use, but if they don't, it's safest to stick with medium firmness.Normally located in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, tokwa comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes - from individual cakes to larger blocks. One company even packages their tofu in a convenient, plastic-wrapped cylinder - all you need to do is peel back the plastic and slice.