There has been a lot of controversy surrounding tofu lately, but because it is a main ingredient in many vegetarian dishes, we thought it was definitely worth having some tofu recipes as part of our meat free collection.
What is tofu? Tofu is made from soy milk. To make tofu, soy milk is coagulated, which causes it to curdle, and the resulting curds are pressed to form tofu. It has a very neutral taste, which makes it easy to mix into many dishes.
What are the health benefits? Tofu is a low calorie food that is high in protein, calcium and iron. There are many sources out there that indicate its benefits include lowering the risk of some cancers, reducing menopause side effects, lowering heart disease, and lowering cholesterol. Since neither of us are nutrition or medical experts, we can’t determine how much truth there is to this, but it definitely seems to be a good food choice compared to many other things out there.
So what’s the controversy? The main controversy that hits home for me is the varying opinions on soy and breast cancer. Soy contains something called isoflavones, which has a similar chemical structure to estrogen. Since some breast cancers are fed by estrogen, some sources indicate this weaker estrogen in soy/tofu will actually help reduce the breast cancer risk. But the other side of the argument indicates that the isoflavones actually stimulate the growth of estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer cells. So confusing as you can imagine. Some other studies against tofu indicate that it affects thyroid function and is linked to cognitive impairment and the development of Alzheimers. But again, neither of us are experts, so we’re just relaying what we have read in our research. And as a side note, after talking to my oncologist, she suggested I limit my soy intake, but that a little here and there is not going to hurt me. So, as I’ve said before regarding other foods, everything in moderation! Besides, I am part Asian so there’s no way soy sauce is being eliminated from my diet anytime soon!
Now onto my recipe…yakisoba with tofu and bok choy. I don’t really like to call it a recipe necessarily, because it’s just a few ingredients (one being pre-packaged) that I stir fry together, but it’s a delicious Japanese style dish that is easy and a big hit with my family. As a note, I stir fry using coconut oil (a healthy alternative to vegetable oil) and sesame oil.
Yakisoba with Tofu and Bok Choy
1 package of Maruchan Fresh Yaki-Soba (I buy this from my local Grand Mart or similar Asian/global market in the refrigerator section)
Bok Choy (Chinese cabbage)
Fried Tofu (I also get this from an Asian market in the refrigerator section but tofu is easy to find in regular grocery stores as well)
Stir fry bok choy until soft. Set aside.
Stir fry tofu just to warm up. Set aside.
Prepare yaki-soba noodles with seasoning packet as indicated on package. Mix in bok choy and tofu.
Grab your chopsticks and enjoy!