“ Brand: Cauldron / Type: Vegetarians / Food quality: Organic food „
Tofu is one of those foods that you either like or you hate. I happen to like and I'm a big fan of tofu. I've been vegetarian for most of my life and so am used to trying different food items and experimenting. In its natural state tofu is unappealing to eat but once marinated or cooked with strong sauces it transformed.
Try slicing and marinating in sauces of your choice, soy, chilli and garlic as an example and then either dry frying or baking in the oven - yum.
Try coating it in flour and then shallow frying in a wok and adding to a stir fry, noodles and sauce of your choice, again yummy. Cooking it this way gives it a slightly different texture, slightly firmer.
As tofu contains a lot of water you should press it before using so that most of the liquid is squeezed out.mthis makes the cooking process better.
Low in calories and nutritional so if you can cope with the texture then it makes a great ingredient
Tofu is one of those things that I had heard of countless times but it never really appealed to me until I researched it on the internet after recently becoming a Veggie. I was really impressed to find that it's high in protein, naturally low in saturated fat and the ingredients in plain, unflavoured tofu are completely natural as it is made from soya beans. Unlike a lot of other Vegeterian fake meat type products on the market, this is free from genetically modified ingredients and as far as I am aware it is no where near as highly processed as quorn, which is obviously an advantage!
This particular brand of tofu is available in a majorty of supermarkets and I purchased my 396 gram pack of it for a reasonable £2, which is obviously much cheaper than a 369 gram pack of meat would cost! There was an offer on in my local Tesco which was buy any three products from the Couldron range for £5 although as I didn't know if I would like it or not I purchased just the one pack. I opted for the plain tofu but there is marinated tofu available too as well as tofu mince and tofu sausages!
The packaging that the tofu comes in is a square shaped foil container which is tightly sealed with a plasticy paper type lid. The branding is pretty good - it's informative and has a recognisable brown and green colour scheme and all of the information such as nutritional info, ingredients etc are listed clearly as well as the company's website and contact details. The pack is not re-sealable and once opened the tofu should be consumed within three days.
The tofu itself is a creamy white colour and the block is around the same size as a medium sized tub of butter. It looks a bit like solid yoghurt if that makes sense and it doesn't particullary even look like food, let alone look tasty! The block of tofu can be cut however you like and I decided to cut it into small chunks. The product is very easy to cut through due to the almost jelly like texture and it does have quite an off-putting slimy feel. It has no smell at all.
I decided to marinate my uncooked tofu pieces in garlic, chilli and ginger overnight as apparently tofu absorbs the flavours of the ingredients it is marinated and cooked with, which is why it is marketed as being incredibly versatile and ideal for people who enjoy trying out new recipes. The next day once I was certain that the tofu had marinated for long enough I did a stir fry - I simply fried this for a few minutes until it seemed firmer and then added some veg and voilà - done!
I found it a little confusing when cooking this as I expected it to change colour like meat does although even after 3-4 mins on a high heat it remained an unappetising pale shade of beige. Also, when stirring it around and mixing it up with the veg, it did kind of give way a bit rather than staying in cubes so the meal didn't particullary look appetising. Taste wise.. this stuff isn't nice. It did take on the flavour of garlic and chilli but it tasted bland and waterry and even if it had tasted okay, the texture would of ruined it.
I felt like I was eating jelly when I was chewing this and the texture was so strange that I couldn't finish the meal. Calorie wise, there are 85 calories per 100 grams and a generous 10 grams of protein in 100g. I overall don't reccomend this as it just doesn't taste right in my opinion!
My mate being a Vegetarian has opened up a whole new world to me and taste-buds...mostly for the better and not only in the taste stakes but I certainly feel a damn sight healthier lately as I'm fueled by fruit and vegetables lol.
Me, I have gained confidence in cooking of lately. It's something living at home with my parents I don't normally do very much of at all however staying with her I enjoy cooking for the two of us and have so far enjoyed using ingredients I have never seen before yet alone used!
The other night I decided that I'd make us a curry for our tea. I looked in her freezer thinking we had meat free chicken chunks in there and was annoyed when I spotted we didn't! However I did notice that my mate had got this Tofu to try and I decided to use that instead!
The tofu itself comes in a clear plastic sealed packet and on the front of the box which is a sort of pink beige colour with a photograph of the tofu on the front of it I am told that it is Cauldron Organic Tofu, that it meets Soil Association Standards, the best before date is clearly stated on as is the weight of the tofu (which in this case is 250g). Other information listed on the box includes being told a bit about the product, ingredients and a full nutritional chart is stated, cooking instructions are listed (you can stir fry or grill it) and contact details for Cauldron foods are clearly stated. Nice enough box that is informative enough...this is.
Well like I stated earlier this comes in plastic wrapper so you simply remove it from that. The tofu is a sort of beige colour and is in block form which is made purely from soya beans and water. Open it up and it has a spongy feel to the touch and has no real fragrance to it at all really. If using it from frozen you really do need to let this defrost well first and it really does melt water believe me and then your left to use it of course, and easy to cut/chop up this is..
I grilled my lump which was very easy to do. Through cooking it, which took me about 8 minutes in total it went much firmer to the touch and took on a slight golden colour but still stayed smooth in appearance.
I then bunged mine in a curry sauce along with some ingredients I had been busy frying to add to it all! It took on the colour of my curry and basically looked a bit like chicken by the time I had cubed it and I was impressed that it had held well and hadn't gone to mush so easy to use this is and very versatile indeed to be fair to it.
However the taste. To be blunt I'm shocked anyone likes this! lol. It's vile in mine and my mates opinion. This was the first time she or I had ever tried Cauldron tofu and both of us were horrified by it! It was spongy, soggy and tasted like white bread really and had no seasoning to it at all. It certainly had no place in a curry and me, I'll seriously eat almost anything but with this I simply couldn't eat any more after a couple of mouthfuls. It was truly revolting to me.
I don't recommend this product at all. I'm willing to try other brands of tofu in the future but to be honest I couldn't go near this ever again, and saying that on the whole I'm not a fan of Cauldron foods on the whole anyway!
Nutritional information Per 1/2 Box:
Energy: 105 Kcal
of which sugars: 0.6g
of which saturates: 1.3g
Salt equivalent: Trace
Available in all good supermarkets etc and expect to pay about £1.67 a box and this is also available in a marinated option.
When I first became a vegetarian, I thought I would give tofu a try, I had heard lots about it, so thought it would be good, and it's actually disgusting.
This product costs about £1.60 for 250g, which is easily enough for two people.
Tofu is basically bean curd. It has no flavour what so ever, so apparently it can take on the flavour of whatever you cook, I didn't find this to be true.
I cut the tofu into pieces, and then fried on all sides for a bit before making the rest of a vegetable curry and adding it all together. The outcome was vile.
The texture of tofu even after it's cooked is extremely rubbery and soft, it did not take on the flavour of the curry and just tasted of nothing, and I found it incredibly difficult to stomach, it's such a strange texture, that it almost made me gag!
I'm not sure whether it's just this brand or tofu in general, but I eat other cauldron products and they are fine.
I think if you are looking for something to bulk out a meal, like a curry or stir fry, just add extra vegetables, don't use this, it's virtually pointless. It tastes of nothing and the texture isn't very nice.
I would not recommend this product. It is horrible. Stick to vegetables.
-What is it?-
Cauldron Tofu, is a packaged organic Tofu, consisting of a 250g block sealed in its own juices in a plastic packet.
It is probably easiest if you think of Tofu as essentially a type of cheese. The big difference is that it is made from bean curds rather than a dairy product. And is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing it into blocks.
Tofu is considered by many to be healthy, and is an excellent carrier of other flavours, it it high in protein, and low in salt, sugar, and saturated fats. And of course it is perfect for vegetarians!
-How much does it Cost?-
Cauldron Tofu, will cost you between £1.66 and £1.68 in the big four supermarkets.
(price correct at time of writing, source: mysupermarket.co.uk)
This is for a 250g weight, Tofu block. Approximately this will serve 4-6 persons, dependant upon what your using it for. A little does go along way though, as it is protein rich.
-Why can you do with it?-
To say that Tofu is tasteless, is not being mean, because it quite frankly is. And nobody can say otherwise. I mean I have chewed on cardboard that has more flavour. It makes Iceberg lettuce taste like white truffle.
Having no taste, and a texture akin to coagulated slimey mucus scraped from the back of a toad, is however not a bad thing. Not a bad thing, because Tofu is used principally as a flavour carrier, and without hindering flavours with a flavour of its own, its absolutely easy to balance the meal to taste perfect. Another bonus is that, Tofu packs the same appetite quenching protein hit, without all the negatives of eating meat.
Typically I have mainly only seen it used in oriental cuisine, and I have to say, that in a stir fry with other strong flavours, it is absolutely delicious.
As an idea, try stir frying finely sliced chilli, garlic and ginger in a wok, add some chunks of Tofu, then add Soy Sauce, some Oyster Sauce, some finely sliced carrott, some finely sliced red pepper, some spring onions cut into diamonds, add some seasoning. Finish a few minutes later by adding some cooked rice noodles, some more finely sliced chilli, and add a drizzle of Sesame Oil and more Soy Sauce just before serving. It is quite lovely, and surprisngly tastes no different to the rest of the dish.
Highlighting its flavour carrying characteristics.
Although not the cheapest way of getting protein into your diet, it is a rather healthy way to do so. And with it being quite filling, I would say that the 250g block should do at least 4-6 portions. Which makes it quite good value compared to something like chicken breast for example.
As a bonus, you can freeze this Tofu. I recommend cutting it into bite size squares prior to freezing, and making sure you thoroughly dry the Tofu prior to portioning it. In fact I recommend thoroughly drying Tofu even before cooking, as it helps flavours to stick.
When it comes to utilizing Tofu as an ingredient, I would say that its inert flavour is particularly beneficial to being used in oriental cuisine, rather than a hinderance being tasteless means no nasty clashes are possible. But it does need strong flavours to work well, and I find crisping the outer surface by stir frying improves the texture.
Compared to other brands I have tried, Cauldron is amongst the best. The Tofu isn't overly crumbly, holds together well during cooking, and is nicely packaged as a block.
Tofu is one of my favourite foods, and if it wasn't for the cost I would eat it every day. As it is, with a 250g box costing around £1.59, I eat it once every week or two. Cauldron is the brand you will find most commonly in supermarkets, though my local Tesco has stopped stocking the plain stuff (which is what I'm reviewing), so I have to pop up the road to Waitrose to find mine. You should also find it in most health food shops, in the fridge.
So, when most people describe tofu as a bland food, why do I like it so much? Because it's so versatile! I have tried other brands of tofu, and I would say that Cauldron is on the firmer side, which is a good thing for most recipes because it holds together better. For recipes where you want the tofu to blend smoothly it's better to use silken tofu anyway. This is no more expensive, though you will find it on the general grocery shelves (in mine it's put in 'World Foods') rather than in the fridge.
For a main meal, a 250g box serves 2 people, and if you're using it in, say, a curry, you will need to bulk it out with mushrooms or other veggies.
I tend to think of tofu as an ingredient in its own right rather than a substitute for something else - if I'm making a tofu curry I will call it that rather than, say, 'Chick'n Curry' as some recipes would have it. And indeed, if you look to the way tofu has been used throughout the centuries, it is an ingredient in its own right (if you've ever eaten bean curd in a Chinese takeaway, you've eaten tofu!).
The reason, I think, we have built up this idea of tofu as a meat replacement in this country is because soya is such a powerhouse of nutrients - a king in the world of plant foods. It is the only plant food that contains all the essential amino acids in one food stuff (which is where all that food combining stuff came from years ago, which has now been dismissed as unnecessary). Tofu is packed full of protein, low in calories and fat compared to other protein sources and a massive amount of calcium if it has been set in this way (check the label - sometimes nigari is used which doesn't give you any calcium - the Cauldron brand is set with calcium). Of course, since it is a plant food there is zero cholesterol and it gives you a good hit of iron. So you can see why vegetarians have clung so hard to this food! But there is no reason to dismiss this as a 'vegetarian food'.
There are so many things you can do with tofu entire cookbooks have been written about it! I can't cover everything, but I will talk about some of the ways I use it most often.
I admit, I quite like the taste of tofu as it comes - completely raw. It's not very exciting and I wouldn't want to eat a whole block of it, but it does have a flavour. What it does mean is that you can use it raw in recipes, such as 'Eggless Egg Salad' (I don't call it that, but this is what you'll find it called on the internet) - there are lots of different recipes for this, and I have my favourites which I use in sandwiches, on jacket potatoes or in tortilla wraps.
The way most people use it is to replace meat in recipes. Cube or slice it, perhaps marinate it, brown it, and use as you would chicken. I often don't brown it, but it does disintegrate a little this way - I anticipate this and cut quite big cubes. Some people crumble it in place of mince, but I don't enjoy it that way.
Traditionally, tofu is marinated, cubed and deep fried - this is the way you'll find it in Chinese takeaways. I don't think I've deep-fried anything in my life, so this is something I've never done! I'd be scared of how much fat it would soak up, given that tofu is quite spongy in texture.
If you have the time, a gorgeous way of preparing tofu is to cube and marinate it, then put it on a wire rack over a baking tray and bake it. You could use this in a recipe - but mine never lasts long enough so I don't know how that will turn out! I imagine it would be yummy though, because the tofu cubes firm right up and are intensely flavoured with whatever marinade you used. Google is your friend for recipes and timings. : )
Another property of tofu is that you can choose what texture you prefer. If you use it as it comes, it is softer - but if you put it in the freezer it changes and becomes much firmer. Try it and see which you prefer!
As an aside, I know from past experience that plain tofu is 'free' on Slimming World - so worth checking out if you're on that diet. Also look for silken tofu - blended up this gives you a 'free' creamy base for sauces and dips, ready to be flavoured. It seems from a quick browse that Weightwatchers are quite keen on the idea of tofu too.
You can make tofu at home using soy beans. If you have a soymilk machine it looks easy. Without one, it looks fairly labour intensive. It is something I want to try one day though because it is much cheaper and then I can have tofu more often.
Until that point, I will continue to buy the Cauldron brand because it is the most easily available, because it is the firmest of all of those I've tried, and because it comes in a bigger package than other brands. It's also organic, for those who eat this way.
Being very new to the world of vegetarian cookery, I was not sure I wanted to try tofu because I had heard it is a very bland food. However, after various vegetable curries and lasagnes, I thought I'd branch out.
Like many others, I had to search for it in the supermarket. My local Morrison's sell it though, and it is £1.75 for 250g. It comes in a sealed bag surronded by water. I snip the corner off, drain the water out, then cut open the bag and place the tofu between two pieces of kitchen towel. I pat it dry and lightly press it. The dryer it is, the better it absorbs flavours.
My favourite thing to do with it is cut it into cubes (I get about 20) and fry it in a small amount of sesame oil in a very hot wok. Once it is golden brown I drain it on kitchen towel and set aside. Then, in the wok, fry some chopped spring onions with crushed garlic, ginger and 2 chopped birds eye chillis, add 2tbsp soy sauce, 2tbsp sugar and 2tbsp white wine vinegar, heat until sugar has melted stirring or tossing all the time. Than add about 3/4 pint of vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Mix 2tbsp cornflour with water to make a paste, and pour into the sauce. Stir until the sauce is slightly thickened and clear. Put the tofu back into the sauce and stir. Serve immediately on noodles or rice with steamed broccoli. It is so gorgeous and is almost like chicken in texture when done like this, but healthier, cleaner and better for you! My kids thought I'd bought a chinese takeaway when I gave it to them. You need to double this and buy two packs for a meal for four.
Another way to cook it is to make a marinade of your choice and then toss the cubed tofu in it and leave in the fridge for half an hour before using it in your favourite recipes. There are a lot of vegan and vegetarian websites to give you inspiration for using it. Just search for tofu recipes and you'll be surprised!
Tofu is a good source of protein and so easy to cook with. I don't know how long it keeps once it's cooked because honestly, we finish it all off!Give it a try!
Having just returned from a wonderful trip to Thailand with my veggie husband, tofu is now a product I am vastly more familiar with than I was a couple of weeks ago. I eat a lot of meat free products anyway and so the pair of us encountered tofu quite frequently during our trip.
We found, much to our surprise, that we really enjoyed it - we were under the impression it was a very bland and unappetizing foodstuff, however, it would seem we had just been cooking it the wrong way all along!
On our return I looked in my local ASDA for some tofu and this was the only variety that they stocked. A 250g packet is currently on special offer in my local store priced at £1. I belive when it is not on offer it retails for around £1.50 so either way its quite a cheap foodstuff and ideal for filling out a vegetarian meal.
Basically, tofu is made from the curd of soy beans, basically the milk that comes out of them when crushed is compacted and formed into these milky coloured, wobbly textured slabs. You can get firm or silken tofu (according to thai cooking websites) and in general the firm stuff is better for stir fry and pad thai dishes - which is the form we ate it in while out there.
It seems like it is difficult to find the firm stuff over here, I have now checked 3 of the big 4 supermarkets here and can only find this Cauldron version which I believe to be the silken variety (it doesnt actually say anywhere on the packet!) because it is nowhere near as firm as the tofu we ate in Thailand.
So, I have now spent a few weeks tinkering with the tofu (!) and trying to recreate some of our favourite dishes. I have made pad thai and green curry so far with this version and it has performed well in both, absorbing the flavours of the dishes and providing a nice, chunky textured filler in them. I think this is the key - it really does not taste of anything on its own and is intended to be used to fill out a meal as a blank canvas which can be flavoured any which way you choose.
In this Cauldron packet you get a sturdy, plastic bag sealed around a slab of the tofu which is surrounded by milky fluid (much like you would get around a mozzerella ball). The cooking instructions suggest that you pat the tofu dry with kitchen towel once it is removed from the packet and I have found that a lot of fluid comes off the slab but it is well worth doing.
The slab is about an inch thick and is a healthy portion for two people. I cut it into small cubes for the dishes I have made which is very easy given the shape of the block.
We have been very pleased with the results while using this tofu, in both the dishes we have made it has been very nice to eat and we will certainly be buying it again. I have a feeling tofu is going to remain a part of our diet now, half a packet contains only 131 calories and 1.3g of sat fat, so it is a healthy choice too.
Tofu is a protein-rich food made from the 'milk' (ie white liquid) that can be squeezed out of crushed, cooked soy beans. It's to soy milk what dairy cheese is to....regular milk. Tofu comes in semi-solid, smooth white slabs and tastes of nothing at all.
Health-nuts and vegetarians love the stuff, partly because of its high protein content (it's said to be particularly good for ladies, because of the are oestrogen-like chemical compounds that are found in legumes in general, and particulalry in soy beans. If you're a tofu-eating bloke, I'm not sure these particular 'health benefits' really apply; oestrogen-like chemicals have had a lot of bad press, lately). Unfortunately there's some debate as to whether the human gut is able to digest / absorb vegetable proteins of the soy-derived type but as a lot of the other vegetarian 'protein-type' foods I've been looking at lately are made of 31% breadcrumbs - certain brands of veggie sausage mix are predominantly made of breadcrumbs! Isn't that shocking? - I suppose the nutritonal components of tofu are neither here nor there really.
You wouldn't think there would be much difference, between different brands of tofu, but there is. This 'Cauldron' stuff comes out of the cardboard packet sealed in a thick, leak-proof polythene bag. The tofu is a slab of inch-thick uniform white stuff, covered with strange pitting over the entire surface. In the bag it's surrounded by an unappetising, greyish-coloured fluid that you drain away before cooking. A 250g packet - enough for a generous portion for two - will cost you between just over a quid and £1.50 depending on where you buy it.
As for cooking it - well, I did have a memorably nice stir-fried tofu in chilli / black bean dish in a Chinese restaurant sometime in 1999, and since then I have been regularly trying to replicate the effect at home - but unfortunately never with any success. I know tofu is supposed to be good for you and everything, but it's a difficult cooking ingredient for me to like. The best approach is probably to do as the Japanese do with small pieces of tofu in their miso / seaweed soup, and to not attempt to disguise, change or enhance the tofu's - for want of a better description, because honestly, tofu is an eating texture and nothing else, since it tastes of absolutely nothing at all - 'flavour'.
The best that I can say about tofu in general and Cauldron tofu in particular is that the unopened packets have a pretty long shelf in the refridgerator.
Now, deep-fried tofu, that's a different kettle of fish. The appearance and texture of the material changes completely. In oriental grocers', you can buy this spongy, golden-brown product - which absorbs sauces and flavours like a dream, is a good addition to stir-fries, etc., and is not too bad to eat. I've never had the nerve to try and deep-fry Cauldron tofu to see what happens to it, as the product is quite difficult to handle - ie to dry off properly. And since it comes out of the packet sopping wet, dropping pieces of it into an open pan of boiling oil has always seemed to me like a recipe for disaster....but we're thinking of getting an electric deep-fat fryer (we're both Scottish, after all) and if deep-frying Cauldron tofu in that produces the desired result, that'll be a whole new avenue of Cauldron tofu use that'll open up to me.
Possibly the best Tofu on the market. It is a staple product of any vegetarians fridge. It is mainly used to bulk out meals as it has no taste per se, it takes in the flavour of whatever it is mixed with. This product has a firm and 'meaty' texture and manages to go well in any meal. I am quite partial to using it to make thai curries as it soaks up the flavour of the spices wonderfully. It comes in a hard block, which is handy for cutting up into bite size lumps, or minced to make larger portions such as tofu burgers!
One thing I have noticed about this product, is that the texture of it tends to become firmer if it has been frozen and then thawed out in the fridge... Not sure why this is but if it is something you think you might prefer, then remember to freeze it the day you buy it and give it up to eight hours to defrost.
I have cooked this product for many meat eaters, who had previously told me that they didnt like tofu and have managed to win them over to the wonder that is bean curd!
Look out for this product on offer - morrisons had it for 54p and i bought in bulk!
Try it today!
I am sure Tofu is a bit of a mystery to some people, especially those of you who are meat eaters. Hopefully, this review will dispel a few mysteries and maybe temp you to try it. If there are any vegetarians out there who don't have it as a staple food in their fridge, you really are missing out.
Cauldron make a fantastic range of vegetarian products, and their tofu is no exception. Tofu varies in texture depending on what you buy, and this particular tofu has a nice firm texture which makes it easy to use. I've tried lots of different types and brands over thee years, and this is my favourite. A 250g pack costs £1.09 in Morrison's and is similar elsewhere. The outer packaging is recyclable, but the inner plastic sleeve is not. You will find the tofu is sealed in a plastic pack containing water. if you do not use the tofu all at once, it must be kept in chilled water and used within 4 days.
Tofu is made from soya beans, so it's really high in protein. It's also very low in fat, so it's really good for you. It's not the most attractive food when you unpack it, looks like a greyish white rubbery block! it has very little taste, but will take on the taste of whatever food you cook with it. Clever food! You don't need to cook it though, you can eat it straight from the pack.
Tofu is very versatile, and is probably best used in stir fries. Use your imagination and there are endless possibilities. The Chinese have been eating it for over 2000 years, so it can't be a bad thing!
Tofu - this is a vegan staple always in my fridge.
You can get tofu in different forms - and they are all quite different:
Plain - good for putting in flavoursome things as it absorbs flavour.
Smoked tofu - very tasty - I could eat this from the packet
Silken tofu - splodgy custardy sort - excellent for vegan quiches and cheesecakes
It is what they called at school 'a first class protein' . Now, I think this means all amino acids are present. It is, fair to say a high protein food.
I don't like to get too hung up on protein because the fact is that most people eat too much protein.. We're all a bit protein bonkers - is there enough protein in it etc. To synthesise protein, the body needs to use calcium. Too much protein = too much calcium usage = calcium deficiency= problems like arthritis. We can keep popping those calcium tablets but too much protein is definately a problem.
So veggies actually don't have a problem with protein despite what some people might like to beleive - especially with products like tofu around.
This particular tofu is quite hard to get out of the fiddly, plastic packet. The best method is to chop into it with scissors over the sink and then drain the cloudy water off. Then you can slip it out and wash it. The tofu is quite dense and heavy but there is not that much of it; I can use it for 3 people for one meal no problem.
An easy way to cook tofu is to chop it in slices, sprinkle liberally with lemon juice, salt and black pepper, leave to soak for about 20 mins (don't bother too much if it is less) and then dip in wholemeal flour and fry on both sides til golden. Squirt a bit more lemon juice on at serving Serve with peas/salad/chips. It is like a sort of pretend fried fish.
Now there is no excuse for anyone to say they don't know what to do with it. Tofu takes on flavour - it has none of its own so you can make it taste like fish or chicken if you want to. I can't remember what that stuff tastes like anyway.
For a truly healthy diet, people should be eating much less meat. Another interesting fact is that the country with the highest tofu consumption has the lowest incidence of breast cancer (Japan).
Buy some and try some.
Okay, well, tofu. Somehow the notion of trying it came upon me and so I set out to realise it. I expected an overwhelming array of choice to meet me upon entering my search of 'tofu' into supermarket search engines, but such was not the case. There was very little to choose from as far as brands go; at the most two, and at the least? One: Cauldron.
It's probably clear, then, that I can't do much of a comparative review here due to a sincere lack of competition and my own unfamiliarity with the product at hand. Cauldron did offer a few other varieties of tofu though, in certain stores such as Sainsburys, and I must say these are significantly more expensive. These alternatives offer you pre-marinated tofu, which I've heard is delicious; but then, is it worth shedding out the extra 50p for something you could do yourself? No, or so, at least, I thought.
So I bought Cauldron Organic Tofu, which seemed to be just tofu 'as is' and which I could make do with as suited my fancy. It came as I expected it to, though I must say I was a little surprised at the size. It's 250 grams, but the box is so tiny! I first pondered whether any bigger packets were offered, and this was one dwelled on till I read the side of the packet. The tofu, once opened, must be eaten with four days. 'Four days!' I exclaimed, yet it did not stop there. The tofu, for these four days, must be in water that is changed daily, covered, and in the fridge. This care routine seems to remind me of a plant.
Perhaps that's rightly so when we consider what tofu actually is, as perhaps some readers may not. Tofu, wikipedia tells me, "is a food of Chinese origin, made by coagulating soy milk, and then pressing the resulting curds into blocks.". Right-o, then, I suppose that's something out of the way as I had no idea how to go about it myself. In terms for the simpletons such as I, tofu seems to me to be a white block. In this particular product, it's kept in a sort of plastic pocket with water circulating around the edges. More than these vague observations, though, tofu is healthy. The main reason I bought it is because it offers me, as a vegetarian, the protein I'm otherwise earnestly lacking in.
The rest of the nutritional information isn't too bad, either. I can sort of understand its status as a so-called 'superfood' as I glance over the packaging anew. Tofu is low in calories, has a complete absence of cholesterol; and, in contrast, is high in protein, high in calcium and, er, needing a third, high in tastiness! Cauldron Organic Tofu contains, per 100g, 105 calories, 12.1g of protein, 6.0g of fat (1.0g of which saturates), trace sodium/salt and 300mg of calcium. Impressive, no? I think so. The product is also, as one may assume from the title, organic. "Made with non GM ingredients", in other words. How relieving. How good. But there's not much else to say on that issue, for me.
Anyway, hm. The eating. The first night I had this in a stir fry. Unfortunately I did not understand the concept of marination and only gave it (literally) two minutes to marinate before throwing it in the wok. It wasn't exactly bursting with flavour as a result, but I did get a nice view of tofu as is. It's sort of spongy, but very tasteless. It worked well with the rest of the stir fry, though toward the end the blandness did get a little tiresome.
I then decided to freeze it, the side of the pack informing me that "as a result...the texture will become firmer". I found this an attractive idea and it seemed one popular with the rest of tofu-eaters, of whose opinions I read online. I decided to grill the tofu instead of having it in a stir fry, but again I failed to marinate it - too lazy. It was a bit odd watching this on the grill as the packet tells me that I should turn for "even browning" but it does not actually brown. It sort of goes a yellow-ee brown, I suppose. I only realise it was done when it started to get a little hint of black. I didn't mind this, though; I always set out to purposely burn my stuff anyhow.
It was indeed a lot tastier following freezing. It was a lot firmer, as they said, and therefore a lot chewier. It was just generally nice and, although I only have a vague memory of the time before my vegetarianism, I do agree with the idea that it tastes like chicken. I'd gotten the idea from online that tofu absolutely needed marination, but this meal seemed to prove that wrong for me; it tasted absolutely excellent just with ketchup, though everything tastes good just with ketchup for me.
That incident has successfully turned me off the idea of marination now, as I simply can't be bothered, as they say. Besides that, everytime I open the bottle of soy sauce I bought specifically for this purpose, I cringe. It smells horrid and I can't face the idea of contaminating my delicious (slight exaggeration, but hey) tofu with the stench. That all said, though, if I could get the hang of it, this tofu would do it well. I can see this just by the sheer amount of water it absorbs, so any flavour must be no problem. On the mention of water, though, I feel I must elaborate on this point. I stated it's in a plastic pocket surrounded by water, and such is true, but then I failed to go on and talk of how one must 'drain' the tofu following opening it. It really won't do just to chunk it on the grill, in a stir fry, or, er, anywhere without first draining out of it all the water. It's a bit of a pain on the quiet. My advice is to set down kitchen towel above and below and stick it between two plates. I would do this if I weren't so indolent, and I did do it once so know it works well; but I, instead, just squeeze it in a kitchen towel. It uses an obscene amount but is a valid alternative. I do think this is perhaps the only disadvantage of tofu, this whole draining process. I have to get out the kitchen early just to do it and then, in three packets, it has managed to use up a whole roll of kitchen towel.
That's it. It's tofu. It's good. It can pretty much be made to emulate any type or form of meat. Or you can eat it plain, with ketchup. Either way, I recommend it.
It goes yellow when frozen by the way - don't worry.