Versatile adj. Having varied uses or serving many functions. “One of the most versatile of ingredients is tofu.”
Tofu, made from soybean curd, is a great source of vegetarian protein while being low in calories and fat. Also, depending on the coagulant used to create the curds from soymilk, it can also be a good source of calcium and/or magnesium. But one of the true benefits from cooking with tofu is its versatility. Fresh tofu (sold immersed in water) is available as silken, soft, firm, and extra firm. In addition, sun-dried tofu, sweetened tofu (for desserts), fermented tofu, tofu skins and deep-fried tofu puffs are also commonly available.
There is a blandness to plain tofu. But this characteristic lends itself well to different methods of preparation because the tofu absorbs the flavors of the dish. In the US, tofu is usually seen grilled, in stir-fry, salads and soups or as spreads on bagels and sandwiches. While tofu can be a great addition to any dish, I also enjoy the nutty and earthy flavor of it by itself. To showcase the flavor of tofu, a block of room temperature or slightly warm soft tofu is served with some soy sauce or a variety of dipping sauces. This delicate and light dish is commonly found as an appetizer (banchan) in Korean cuisine.
- Rinse tofu and then cover with cold water in a medium saucepan.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then keep warm, covered, over very low heat.
- In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients for the sauce.
- Just before serving, carefully lift tofu from saucepan and drain on paper towels.
- Transfer tofu to a plate and spoon some sauce over the tofu.
- Serve with some remaining sauce on the side.