Tofu (Bean Curd) or Dou Fu as it is pronounced in the Chinese language is derived from the coagulated milk of soy beans (Glycine max [Leguminosae]). Coagulants are added to the milk and the resulting curds are pressed into blocks of varying softness.

Chinese Name: Tou Fu or Dou Fu.

Nature and Flavour: Sweet in flavour and cool in nature.

Channels Entered: Spleen, Stomach and Large Intestine.

Properties and Functions: Invigorates and replenishes Qi; harmonises the Spleen and Stomach; clears Heat and toxins; promotes production of body fluids and moistens dryness.

Indications: Medicinally, it is used to treat acute conjunctivitis, diabetes and recurrent dysentery. It can also be used to remove the toxic quality of sulphur and alcoholic drinks. Nutritionally, tofu is low in calories, but high in protein and iron. It may also be a good source of either calcium or magnesium depending upon which coagulants are used in production (e.g. calcium chloride or magnesium sulphate), however, other methods suchs as use of acids or enzymes are also employed.

Directions: This is a versatile ingredient, and can be boiled, fried or used cold. As it is relatively bland, it will take on flavours of the dish it is used in.