Tofu Protein Value
Tofu is an ideal protein food. It is often used as a meat substitute in vegan or vegetarian diets. It contains all the essential amino acids that human body can not produce on its own. For each 100 grams of tofu it contains about 8 grams of protein. If you put it in calories that is 11 grams in every 100 calories of tofu.

Calories in Tofu

You should not be worried about calorie intake from tofu. It has about 95 calories in a half-cup. By comparison – same amount of milk has 60 calories and one oz. of cheese has 80 calories.

Fat Content in Tofu
It is low in saturated fat and contains no cholesterol

Tofu , also called “bean curd,” is a fresh, cheese-like product made by curding soymilk; it is sold in ready-to-eat cakes. Yet in a broader sense, tofu refers to an entire family of foods including silken tofu, deep-fried tofu burgers, cutlets and pouches, firm and pressed tofu, grilled and smoked tofu, and frozen and dried-frozen tofu. Each of these types has its own unique history, as will be discussed at the end of this chapter.

Tofu has long been the most widely used soyfood in the world. In East Asia it has much the same importance that meat, milk, and cheese have for people in Western countries. Worldwide the tofu industry is very large. In 1982 it consisted of an estimated 245,000 manufacturers, including 30,000 in Japan, 200,000 in the People’s Republic of China, 11,000 in Indonesia, 2,500 in Korea, 1,500 in Taiwan, and 225 in the Western world. The world’s largest factories, located in Japan, make over 50 tonnes (metric tons) of tofu a day (15,000 tonnes a year).

Etymology . In China, the standard Mandarin term for tofu in the pinyin writing system is doufu (formerly written as tou-fu in the Wade-Giles system, but pronounced DOE-fu in both). In Cantonese it is tau-fu or dau-fu (both pronounced DAU-fu) and in Hokkien it is tau-hu (pronounced dau-hu). The earliest known mention of this word was in about AD 950, just before the Sung dynasty. Before that time, the food may have been referred to by poetical or other names such as li ch’i (“morning prayer”) as will be discussed later.

Tofu is a Japanese word; the earliest known appearance was in 1182. During the 1400s, tofu developed a number of nicknames in Japan, such as shiro kabe or shira kabe , and later okabe .


Origin and Early Development to 960 AD . Tofu almost certainly originated in China; its date of origin, however, is uncertain. The earliest existing document containing mention of the term “doufu” is the Ch’ing I Lu Seiiroku in Japanese), written by T’ao Ku in about 950 AD. There are at least four theories concerning the origin of tofu in China. The Liu An Theory states that tofu was developed by Liu An, King of Huai-nan, who lived in the southeast part of north China from 179-122 BC. The Accidental Coagulation Theory states that tofu was developed quite by accident, probably prior to AD 600, when someone, probably in northern China, seasoned a pureed soybean soup with unrefined sea salt containing natural nigari and noticed that curds formed. The Indian Import Theory states that tofu, or at least the basic method for its preparation, was imported from the dairying tribes or perhaps the Buddhist monks of India. The Mongolian Import Theory states that the basic method for making tofu was adapted from the cheese-making process learned from milk-drinking Mongolian tribes living along the northern border of China.

The first two theories suggest that the method of tofu coagulation originated in China. Since soybeans were considered one of the Five Sacred Grains ( wu ku ), they were probably dried like other grains before being cooked. If later boiled, they could either be added to the water whole, or first ground or mashed to make puree. If used in puree form, the result would be a thick soup or porridge that would have to be seasoned. If the cook added unrefined sea salt, which always contained the natural coagulant, nigari, curds would have formed. Curding might also have resulted if the soup were allowed to stand in a warm place until lactic acid-producing bacteria made enough lactic acid to form curds. Alternatively, the cook might have strained the soup to remove the fibrous soy pulp (okara); this would give the resulting curds a finer, more delicate texture. The next step, pressing, would have given the curds a firm texture, allowing it to be cut and extending its storage life. The final result would have been quite similar to today’s tofu.

The third and fourth theories suggest that, since the Chinese did not generally raise cows or goats for milk, they were probably not familiar initially with the curding process. They may have learned it from either the Indians far to the southwest or from the nomadic Mongolian tribes just to the north, both of whom practiced dairying and made curds, cheeses, and fermented milk products. We will examine these two import theories as we come to them in their historical context.

While the last three of these four theories all seem reasonable, there is, unfortunately, relatively little evidence to support any of them, except the Mongolian Import Theory. Yet it is important to note that, as explained in Chapter 33, there is written evidence to show that soymilk existed in China by 82 AD, and may have existed several centuries before that time. Of the four theories, the Liu An Theory is by far the best known; unfortunately, it is probably the least likely to be true. Who was Liu An and what evidence do we have that he developed tofu?

Liu An was born of noble ancestry in northern China in 179 BC. The two main documents describing his life are the Historical Record Shih Chi , Chapter 118; Watson 1961) by the great historian Ssu-ma Ch’ien, who died about 85 BC, and the Han Shu (Jap. Kansho ; Chap. 44; Swann 1950), written about 90 AD by Pan Ku (AD 32-92). The Historical Record was published in about 90 BC; the Han Shu was derived in large part from it.

Liu An was the grandson of the founder of the Han dynasty. His paternal grandfather Liu Pang, generally known by his posthumous name Kao Tsu, was the powerful first emperor of that great dynasty; he died in 195 BC. Liu An’s father was Li Wang Ch’en (Jap. Reiocho; 199-174 BC), an illegitimate son of Kao Tsu and the younger half brother of Wu Ti, one of the greatest of the Han emperors. Liu An’s father led a tragic life. Born in prison, where his mother had committed suicide shortly after his birth??, Liu An’s father was raised in Kao Tsu’s palace, then at an early age made king ( wang ) of Huai-nan (a name that means “south of the Huai River”). The location of his kingdom is shown in Figure 8.1. In 195 BC, Kao Tsu died and in 179 BC, the same year Li An was born, Wu Ti became emperor of Han. A few years thereafter, Liu An’s father, who was a very strong and haughty person, killed the man whom he felt was responsible for his mother’s suicide in prison. Wu Ti, his gentle and understanding half brother, pardoned him. However in 174 BC Liu An’s father attempted a revolt to overthrow the emperor Wu Ti, and Wu Ti had him banished to the West. He died, fasting insolently, on the way. Wu Ti grieved over the death of his half brother, so in 164 BC he divided his deceased brother’s kingdom among his brother’s three sons. Liu An, then Marquis of Fu-ling, became King of Huai-nan at age 15. Some recent writers (Morse 1931) give 164 BC as the year in which Liu An developed tofu.

Liu An soon made a fine name for himself. In the Historical Records , Ssu-ma Ch’ien says: “Liu An, king of Huai-nan, was by nature fond of reading books and playing the lute; he took no interest in shooting, hunting, or dashing about with dogs. He hoped to win the support of his people by doing secret favors for them and to achieve a reputation throughout the empire” (Watson 1961). Historically, Liu An is especially well known because of the Huai-nan Tzu (Tzu means “prince”), a 21-chapter work compiled under his patronage at his court by scholars he had summoned. Predominatly Taoist, this work on philosophy, morals, and statecraft, is also full of omen lore, cosmological speculation, and concepts from diverse other philosophical sources (Reischauer and Fairbank 1960; Needham 1954-86; Morgan 1933). Note that despite a statement by Adolph (1922) to the contrary, Liu An was not a “great friend of Buddhist monks,” for Buddhism had not yet arrived in China. It is very important to note that the Huai-nan Tzu contains no reference to tofu. It does mention shu(beans or soybeans) in several places, giving instructions for planting them by the constellations, noting their season of growth, and adding that they grow well when fertilizied by mud from the river bottoms (Wu 1848). In the book there is also the phrase “a meat shop owner’s bean soup,” meaning that a person who sells meat, being unable to afford eating it, eats bean soup (Shinoda 1974). Thus, there is only faint evidence in theHuai-nan Tzu to connect Liu An with the development of tofu.

Liu An’s nature was not all good. He began to bear a grudge against Wu Ti for his father’s death. In 139 BC he journeyed to the Han capital and was praised by a friend there who said, “There is no one who has not heard of your reputation for benevolence and righteous conduct.” A marquis also suggested that, since there was no clear heir to the emperor’s throne, Liu An might be fit to receive it. In about 135 BC, Liu An began to plan a revolt to place himself on the throne after the emperor’s death. A first attempt failed and Liu An was punished. When Wu Ti heard that a second revolt was being plotted, he sent men to arrest Liu An, but just before they arrived Liu An was warned and he committed suicide by cutting his own throat. It was October, 122 BC. At the beginning of the Later Han a legend appeared, which said that Liu An, rather than committing suicide, had been ushered up to heaven by the eight immortals of Taoist mythology.

In later ages, because of his fame and his dabbling in Taoism, alchemy, and related semi-magical practices, Liu An came to be regarded as the Father of Chemistry and the Taoist arts, in much the same way that all plant domestication was attributed to Shen Nung, and all Near-Eastern plant introductions were credited (incorrectly) to Chang Ch’ien. The strange, semi-mystical nature of Huai-nan culture strengthened the association. It is true that soybeans certainly existed in Liu An’s time and soymilk may well have been known, so it is conceivable that he did know of or even invent tofu. However it is much more likely that he did not invent tofu, and that later generations merely ascribed its invention to him for various reasons: First, Chinese have traditionally liked to attribute the invention or development of good things to ancient characters of noble birth and/or high virtue. Second, a series of almost magical or alchemical transformations seem to take place in the processes of converting yellow or green soybeans into white soymilk, then the milk into cloudlike curds and pale yellow whey, and finally the delicate curds into firm cakes of tofu. And third, the Chinese have long considered tofu to be a food that promotes long life and good health–a good way to provide a rational explanation for Liu An’s immortality. In fact, Sun Ta-ya (Jap. Sontaiga) of the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) wrote that Liu An ate tofu, grew younger, eventually sprouted wings, and ascended to heaven, thus clearly linking the eating of tofu with immortality. Finally, since tofu later became a key protein source in the meatless diets of many Chinese (especially Buddhists) doing meditation or other spiritual practice, it might have been assumed that Liu An and his Taoist friends practice a similar diet, with tofu as their protein source.

The legend of Liu An as the person who first developed tofu and soymilk was slow to take root. There was no mention of tofu or soymilk in any works commissioned by Liu An, nor in any works about him for more than 1,000 years after his death. As we will see later, the linking of his name with the development of tofu did not start until the 12th century AD and it was not firmly established until 1578.

According to Li (1912) there is an allusion to tofu and soymilk in the rhymes of the great poet Sou of the 2nd century AD. He wrote, “The tender jade gets perfumed by the kettle” (the poet implies the resemblance of fresh tofu with jade) and “to cook the peas in milk and the grain in butter.” While this connection remains speculative, Li noted that “One can see that the idea of vegetable milk does not date from yesterday.”

The Mongolian Import Theory of tofu’s origin has been proposed by Shinoda (1971), Japan’s foremost authority on Chinese foods and their history. He notes that from the 4th to the 7th centuries AD, nomadic dairying tribes from northcentral Asia migrated southward into China, bringing with them their skills and technology for making cultured milk products such as yogurt and cheeselike foods. Although the Chinese had a highly developed civilization since long before the Christian era, they never developed the art of dairy farming (see Chap. 33) or, consequently, of preparing cultured milk products. Shinoda believed that when the Chinese were introduced to the Mongol’s cultured milk product (resembling a yogurt or cheese), it was called rufu by the Mongols. In order to write this word in Chinese, the Chinese had to choose two characters which had the sounds of those two syllables. Fortunately, the character meaning “milk” was pronounced ru . To convey the sound fu the Chinese selected a character that ordinarily meant “spoiled.” This choice probably reflected, in part, a certain contempt the Chinese felt for the Mongols, whom they considered to be inferior and uncivilized barbarians. But it may also have reflected the fact that fermentation and spoilage are closely related microbiological processes. The term rufu first appeared in written Chinese during the Sui dynasty (AD 581-618). Later the fu came to be used in many words relating to foods with a consistency like that of yogurt or soft cheese. Over the next few centuries, however, the Chinese grew quite fond of this Mongolian cultured milk product, and at about this time they probably began to adapt the imported cheese-making skills and technology to the curding of tofu to make soymilk, substituting various indigenous mineral salt- or acid coagulants for the rennet and bacterial cultures. Interestingly the character “spoiled” that they had initially used derogatorily for the Mongolian dairy cheese eventually came to be used in the name of their own soy cheese, which was called doufu; the term dou (bean or soybean) simply replaced the term ru (milk). Translated literally, then, tofu means “soybean spoiled.” The Chinese insult had boomeranged, and it remains with them to this day. It is not known what the original tofu coagulants were, but today nigari ( lu ,yanlu , or lushui ), a by-product of the process of refining sea salt and consisting primarily of magnesium chloride), is used in the northern and coastal areas. Calcium sulfate in the form of burned powdered gypsum ( shigao or shou shigao ) mined from the mountains, is used in the southern and inland areas. Soured whey ( swan giang ??), allowed to ferment naturally overnight) and vinegar are also reported to be used here and there in the south. Advocates of the imported dairy curds theories also note that three other mild-flavored foods, which are among the most popular delicacies in China, were also imported: swallows’ nests ( yen-wo, made by swallows from edible seaweeds), shark fins ( yu-ch’ih ), and trepang (sea cucumbers, also calledbêche-de-mer in French).

Shinoda believed that after the middle of the T’ang dynasty (i.e. after about AD 750) the Chinese, who still had no dairy animals, began to make tofu instead of dairy cheese.

Exhaustive searches of early Chinese literature by Shinoda (1968) and others have revealed that the world’s earliest reference to the word doufu appears in the Ch’ing I Lu (Jap. Seiiroku ), written by T’ao Ku in about AD 950, just before the Sung dynasty. Note that this was more than 1,000 years after the supposed discovery of tofu by Liu An prior to 122 BC. The Ch’ing I Lu states: “In the daily market were several catties of doufu. People of the region called doufu the `vice mayor’s mutton.'” It goes on to tell the story of a vice mayor named Jishu, who was so poor that he couldn’t afford to buy mutton. Instead he bought a few pieces of tofu every day and ate them as a side dish with rice. Soon people in that area came to call tofu the “vice mayor’s mutton.” The story implies that tofu was widely consumed in those days and that it was less expensive than mutton. In fact, Shinoda (1971) believes that by the start of the Sung dynasty in 960 AD, tofu was popular all over China. After the publication of the Ch’ing I Lu , reference to tofu began to appear in many other works.

Sung Dynasty (960-1279) . During the Sung dynasty tofu became a common food of the lower classes. The first suggestion of some connection between Liu An and tofu appeared in the poems of Chu Hsi (1130-1200), the greatest scholar of the Sung. In Volume III he wrote a poem entitled “Doufu.”

Reference source : Soy Info center