PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 March, 2011, 12:00am

Discovered more than 2,000 years ago by the Chinese, tofu, or beancurd, is sometimes referred to as Asian cheese. Tofu is made from soybeans, water and a coagulant or curdling agent (usually a calcium salt).

There are three main types of tofu - firm, soft and silken tofu. Firm tofu is dense and solid and so can be used for stir frying, deep frying, barbecuing, stews or baking. The texture of soft or silken tofu is more delicate. Silken tofu has more of a creamier and custard-like texture. Both soft/silken tofu are used in steamed dishes and soups or in recipes where tofu needs to be blended, for example, ice cream or salad dressings.

Tofu is nutritious. It's a rich source of protein. It's low in fat and saturated fat and is cholesterol free.

Rich in calcium: if a calcium salt has been used in the manufacturing process, a half cup serving of tofu will provide around 20 per cent of an adult's daily calcium requirement. Calcium is a mineral needed for the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth.

Good for the heart: Regular intake of soy protein can help lower 'bad' cholesterol in the blood by as much as 30 per cent without lowering 'good' cholesterol levels at the same time. High levels of 'bad' cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease.

Rich in isoflavones: These compounds can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, some cancers and heart disease.

A good source of iron: A 100-gram serving of tofu provides 30 per cent of an adult's daily iron requirement. Iron is needed to make healthy red blood cells.

A good source of selenium: A 100 gram serving provides around 14 per cent of an adult's daily selenium requirement. Selenium is a mineral which is needed for the proper functioning of the antioxidant system which fights off damaging free radicals in the body and so can protect against heart disease and some cancers.

Fruity tofu ice cream


12 oz silken/soft tofu

22 oz fruit (eg. mango/raspberries/strawberries or a combination)

1 cup plain unsweetened soy milk

6 ounces sugar or maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice


Puree all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Place the puree in a lidded large tupperware box and put in the freezer.

After 45 minutes, remove the box from the freezer and stir it vigorously with a spatula or whisk, breaking up any frozen sections. Return to the freezer.

Continue to check the mixture every 30 minutes, stirring vigorously as it's freezing until the ice cream is frozen. This will take 2-3 hours.