What Tofu Is Really Made Of: All The Ingredients!

Tofu is versatile and has been an integral part of modern vegetarian and vegan nutrition for years. But do you actually know what ingredients are in tofu? We uncover what tofu is really made of, along with all the ingredients.

Tofu aka. bean cheese

What is bean cheese you ask yourself? Originally, tofu comes from China and Japan, which is valued as a vegetable protein source. Loosely translated, tofu, therefore, means: “curdled bean” or “bean cheese”.

Tasty chameleon

Among tofu fans, this is also affectionately called the “tasty chameleon” because it has a neutral taste in its basic form. Only when you add different spices, oils or herbs does tofu develop an individual taste. Due to its porous structure, it is possible for it to be very receptive to any flavor. In Asia, tofu is often marinated in chicken broth. In Europe, on the other hand, it is seen and eaten as a meat substitute.

Only 3 ingredients?!

In fact, tofu consists of only 3 ingredients:

  • soybeans
  • water
  • calcium sulfate or magnesium chloride

You’re probably wondering what kind of chemical, ringing substances calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride are. But we can reassure you because these additives are not harmful to health. In Asia, calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride are used to make tofu. In order to achieve the optimal consistency and the desired taste. Both substances are versatile additives that can be used in foods and are also labeled “E 516” on the packaging. Calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride are used in small amounts. Because just a few grams are enough to make the tofu firm.

Did you know that…

…tofu has been known in China since ancient times, more than 2000 years ago.

Easy manufacturing

You can imagine the production of tofu as cheese, hence the name bean cheese. A coagulant is simply added to the soybeans and water to coagulate (flocculate) the protein in the soybean. The flakes are separated from the liquid, and the whey, and then pressed into block form. The tofu is ready.

Tip: The firmer the tofu, the more protein it contains.

Nutritional values ​​to melt away

If you’re looking for a healthy meat substitute, be sure to try tofu. Tofu is rich in protein, calcium, B-complex vitamins, and iron. The best thing about it is: that it contains hardly any calories, is absolutely free of cholesterol, and is extremely low in fat. Due to all these positive properties, tofu has become an integral part of vegan and vegetarian cuisine. The table below gives you a quick overview.

Average nutritional value – per 100g of tofu

  • Energy in kJ – 519 kJ
  • Energy in kcal – 124 kcal
  • Fat – 4.8g
  • carbohydrates – 1.9 g
  • egg white – 8g
  • dietary fiber – 0.3 g
  • Cholesterol – 0 mg
  • sodium – 7 mg

Types that arouse curiosity

Tofu is not just tofu because there are different types that you should have heard about. In addition to the natural, there is smoked, seasoned, marinated, and pickled tofu. Here are our most popular types:

  • plain tofu
  • smoked tofu
  • silken tofu

Versatile preparation options

When preparing tofu, there are various options that you can use for your dish, such as roasting, boiling, steaming, or deep-frying. The marinated version is definitely a taste highlight, as in our Teriyaki chicken skewers with a spicy marinade recipe. But tofu also spices up well-known German dishes, such as in our vegan swede stew with smoked tofu. Therefore, be sure to test tofu and its diverse preparation options at home. It and its 3 ingredients are ideal as an alternative to meat.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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