Cooking Soya Product Tofu

Q: How do I cook “Ai” Tofu?
Ans:After taking “Ai” Tofu out from packet, wash it with fresh cold water and cook it like any traditional Paneer based recipe like Paneer Bhurji, Shahi Paneer, Paneer Tikka, etc.
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Q: How do I marinate "Ai" Tofu?
Ans:Unlike meat, which is usually tenderized by being marinated, “Ai” Tofu starts out tender. However, marinating Tofu is a great way to give it flavor. First, cube or slice the Tofu to create more surface area for the marinade to soak in. The length of marinating time will depend on your taste and choice of marinade. For example, many sauces, such as soy sauce, can be absorbed within 15 to 30 minutes. Heating the marinade before pouring it over the Tofu is a trick to speed up marinating time. Be sure to store your Tofu in the refrigerator while it is marinating.

Q: Is it safe and healthy to eat Tofu straight from the container?
Ans:Yes. It is both safe and healthy to eat straight from the container. “Ai Tofu” variants such as Kinu, Momen-firm, and Momen-extra firm are packaged with filtered water to conserve freshness and nutritional contents of tofu. Still after opening the packet, we recommend to wash tofu with fresh cold water and dip it in fresh cold water for 15 min before use.

Storing Tofu

Q: How long can I keep Tofu once it is opened?
Ans:For “Ai” Kinu, “Ai” Momen firm and “Ai” Momen extra firm tofu - Once Tofu packet is opened, it will remain fresh for approximately 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. Store the unused portion of tofu in water in the same container and keep in refrigerator (Do not freeze). It is recommended that the water should be changed daily. Unused Tofu must be refrigerated. “Ai” Oboro tofu ideally should be consumed on the same day the container is opened. “Ai” Atsu-Age & “Ai” Abura-Age tofu lasts for 10 days even after opening the packet. During this period it should be stored in refrigerator.

Q: Can I put Tofu in the freezer?
Ans: It is not recommended to store “Ai” tofu or any other tofu in freezer as it might affect taste and texture of the product.

Freshness Concerns

Q: The water of the Tofu I bought is a little yellowish/ milky. Is it all right to eat?
Ans:Tofu is made from soybean by grinding it to form soymilk. As time goes by, the coagulated soymilk dissolves into the water. This is why sometimes the water looks yellowish/ milky.

Q: The Tofu I bought was sour. Is it all right to eat it?
Ans:No. Sour Tofu is an indication of a high level of microbes, just like milk. If the Tofu has not been refrigerated at the right temperature, it will spoil prior to best before date. Always store fresh tofu in refrigerator between 4 to 15 C.

Dietary Concerns

Q: How do I convince my kids to have Tofu?
Ans:Start by gradually adding small amounts of Tofu to their favorite dishes, and/or camouflage Tofu by blending it into a smoothie, pudding or soup to make a creamed soup.

Q: I've been told to watch my cholesterol and fat intake; does Tofu fit into my diet?
Ans:Tofu is an excellent plant-based protein source with no cholesterol at all. The majority of fat in Tofu is unsaturated, which is considered a "good fat" that does not harm blood vessels and acts to reduces probability of heart diseases. Unlike the good fat in Tofu, animal protein contains cholesterol and a higher level of unhealthy saturated fat.

Q: I heard that Soya Products Tofu contains a lot of Isoflavones. What is an Isoflavone?
Ans:: Isoflavones, found in high concentrations in soy beans, are compounds that have been known to help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and breast cancer, as well as osteoporosis and post-menopausal symptoms.

Q: How good is soy bean and how good is soya protein?
Ans:: Soy bean is a leguminous plant. The Chinese have been cultivating and consuming soy beans for over 4000 years. Soya protein is the only plant protein that is equivalent to animal protein. Soya protein contains all the nine essential amino acids. The U.S. Department of Agriculture evaluates protein quality using the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acids Score.

Q: What are some of the nutritional benefits of Tofu?
Ans:: Tofu is easily digestible from of protein. Soy bean is the only complete protein food source in the plant kingdom (other vegetable source of protein must be combined with other to form a complete chain of the necessary amino acids, i.e. beans and rice). Other health benefits of soya include calcium, iron, B vitamins and naturally occurring phytoestrogens.

Q: Is soya protein an allergen?
Ans:: Soya protein can cause allergy like any other food proteins such as milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and wheat. An individual could be allergic to any food, such as fruits, vegetables, and meats. If one is allergic to any food then it is often suggested to read the labels on food products and avoid products that contain the specific food that causes allergic reaction.

Q: Is soya protein better than animal protein?
Ans:: Soya protein and animal protein are both good as far as protein quality is concerned. But animal foods along with the protein, is more likely to contain significant amount of saturated fat as well as cholesterol. This is not good from health point of view but Soya protein is 100% vegetarian and a non-animal product.

Q: Does cooking reduce soya protein digestibility?
Ans::Cooking and processing actually increases soya protein digestibility.

Q: Are soybeans and soya products difficult to digest?
Ans:: Soybeans and soya products are not difficult to digest. If a person who is not used to eating soybeans or soya products and suddenly starts including a lot of soya in the diet the person may experience a discomfort like fullness, flatulence etc. This is because soybeans and some soya products are high protein and high fiber products. Oligosaccharides present in soy beans or any other legume do cause flatulence. Everything eaten soya or otherwise should be in moderation and anything in excess will cause discomfort.

Q: What are isoflavones?
Ans::Isoflavones are a form of phytoestrogens that have a chemical structure very similar to estrogen hormone. Soya is uniquely rich in isoflavones, primarily genistein and daidzein. These isoflavones in soya foods are thought to be responsible for many of the protective affects that soya has shown in animal and in vitro studies.

Q: Is there a recommended daily protein intake?
Ans::At present there is not enough information available to give a specific recommendation. The US FDA has approved a health claim stating that "25 grams of soya protein may help reduce the risk of heart disease." Twenty-five grams of soya protein contains approximately 50 milligrams of isoflavones.

Q: Does heating (cooking and processing) destroy soya isoflavones?
Ans:: Processing and cooking does not affect isoflavones in soya foods. Soya milk and Tofu.

Q: What is okara and how can it be used?
Ans::Okara is the residue left over after extracting soya milk from soybeans. It is rich in protein, isoflavones and fiber. Okara can be added to bakery products or traditional foods.

Q: What is the shelf life of soya milk and Tofu?
Ans::The shelf life of soya milk is like that of dairy milk. Once the carton is opened it will stay fresh for three days if kept in the refrigerator. The shelf life of tofu, if kept as it is without opening the packet, will last for 6 days. Once opened, changing the water on a daily basis, it will stay fresh for a week. “Ai” tofu contains absolutely no preservative and hence remains fresh for 6 days.

Q: How do we use “Ai” Tofu?
Ans::Tofu is a very easily digestible zero cholesterol product. It can be used in Indian cuisine very easily. Every recipe in which paneer is used can be made with tofu instead of paneer. In recipes like paneer parantha, palak paneer, shahi paneer, paneer pakoda, etc. Replace paneer with tofu and prepare the recipe just the same. The prepared recipe looks and tasted almost exactly as the recipe made with paneer. There is no need to look for new recipes to include tofu.

Q: “Ai” Tofu or any other tofu in general does not look like Paneer made with Cow/Buffalo milk?
Ans::Of course tofu does not look and taste exactly like paneer because it is not paneer! Tofu is a healthy product without cholesterol and lactose, it is easily digestible, good source of good quality protein, and it also has isoflavones therefore protective against many diseases. That is the reason it should be included in the diet. Paneer recipes are suggested because these recipes can be made with a product like tofu.

Q: Do Tofu has any effect on thyroid function?
Ans::There is no evidence that soya foods have an adverse effect on thyroid function in healthy humans who consume adequate amounts of iodine. Goiters are due to a deficiency of dietary iodine, not consumption of moderate amounts of soya foods as part of a healthy diet.

Q: What is the role of soya in kidney problem patients?
Ans::If there is a specific ailment it is always better to consult a doctor or dietician. Usually in people with kidney problems the amount of protein taken in diet is reduced. Since soya products have high protein content this point has to be taken into consideration while planning diets for these patients. After saying that, several studies show that compared to animal protein plant proteins are much easier on the kidney. Therefore within the restrictions soya protein can be included in the diet of these patients.

Q: Do eating soya foods cause infertility in men?
Ans::There is no research or scientific evidence that says anything of the sort. People in China and in South East Asia have been consuming soya for hundreds of years and epidemiological studies also do not come up with any result that show soya consumption leads to infertility in men.

Q: Giving children soya can cause them to experience puberty and early periods. Is it true?
Ans::There is no evidence from research work that consumption of soya products bring on early puberty in children. It has been observed that age of puberty has come down in children in general compared to a few decades ago. This has been true even in population’s not consuming soya regularly.

Q: What is glycemic index (GI) and what is soya GI?
Ans::The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical system of measuring how much of a rise in circulating blood sugar a carbohydrate triggers the higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response. A low GI food will cause a small rise, while a high GI food will trigger a dramatic spike. A GI is 70 or more is high, a GI of 56 to 69 inclusive is medium, and a GI of 55 or less is low. Soy bean & tofu GI is 18-25 and it does come under the list of low GI foods, therefore good for diabetics. Its GI is lower than most legumes.

Q: Does soy beans have anti-nutrients which affect mineral absorption?
Ans::: Like many other foods soya has some anti-nutrients like phytates which do affect the mineral absorption. But cooking in acidic medium likes adding tomatoes or if you take enough ascorbic acid (vitamin C) reduces this effect and improves mineral absorption.

Soya products Tofu is 100 % vegetarian and a non-animal product made from soyabean and is known for its extraordinary nutritional benefits, as well as its versatility i.e. High Protein, Low Fat,No Cholesterol and No Lactose.