豆腐(とうふ)【Tofu (bean curd)】

Tofu is made by soaking soybeans in water and crushing them. Then the crushed soybean mixture is boiled. The resulting liquid is strained and then finally is solidified by the use of a bitter water solution. Tofu originated in China over two thousand years ago and immediately spread throughout the Far East. It is thought that tofu was brought into Japan during the Nara period (from 710 to 794). Tofu is considered to be preventive of lifestyle-related diseases as it is low in fat and calories, but high in quality vegetable albumin and calcium. For this reason, it has recently become quite popular among people in the United States.

豆腐は、水に浸した大豆をすりつぶして煮た汁を漉し、にがりで固めた食品です。二千年以上前に中国で初めて作られ、その後すぐに極東全体に広まりました。日本に伝えられたのは奈良時代(710〜794)であると言われています。豆腐は、低脂肪・低カロリーで良質の植物性蛋白質とカルシウムを多く含むため、生活習慣病の予防に役立つと言われ、近年では米国でも好んで食べられています。

In Japan, tofu has long been popular and is used as an ingredient in a wide variety of dishes due to its light taste which matches all other ingredients. There are several ways of eating tofu. The most usual ways are hiyayakko and yudofu. Hiyayakko means chilled tofu eaten raw with soy sauce and condiments such as chopped green onions and grated ginger. Yudofu is tofu cooked in broth made from a variety of seaweed called tangle.

日本では昔から、豆腐の淡白な味と他の食材との相性の良さから、好んで色々な料理に利用されてきました。一般的な豆腐の食べ方としては、冷や奴(ひややっこ)と湯豆腐があります。冷や奴は、豆腐をそのまま冷やして、ネギ・ショウガなどの薬味を添え、醤油(しょうゆ)をかけて食べる食べ方です。

Yudofu is eaten with the same condiments and hot broth seasoned with soy sauce and mirin. Mirin is sweet sake that is used for cooking. Tofu can also be served in miso soup or a clear soup seasoned with soy sauce.There are two different processes for manufacturing tofu which produce slightly coarse-grained momen-dofu that contains less water and smooth kinugoshi-dofu that has a higher water content. There is also tofu that is grilled and roasted which is called yaki-dofu and it is often used for hot pot dishes such as sukiyaki because it does not crumble easily if it is cooked for a long time.

湯豆腐は、昆布のだしで豆腐を温めて、薬味と調味料で食べる食べ方です。これらの他に、豆腐は味噌汁やすまし汁の実としてもよく利用されています。豆腐にはいくつかの種類があります。製法の違いによって、水分が少なくややきめの荒い木綿豆腐と水分が多くなめらかな絹ごし豆腐に分けられます。これらの他に、豆腐を焼いて焦げ目をつけた焼き豆腐があります。焼き豆腐は煮崩れしにくいため、すき焼きなどの鍋料理に利用されます。

There are several processed foodstuffs made from tofu. The varieties of deep-fried tofu include abura-age (usu-age), atsu-age, and ganmodoki.

豆腐を使って作った加工品に、油揚げ(薄揚げ)、厚揚げ、がんもどき等があります。

Frozen and dried tofu is called koya-dofu. Okara, leftover sediment from the strained soy bean liquid, is very cheap and contains a great deal of dietary fiber that our contemporary diet tends to lack. Okara greatly deserves to be used as an ingredient for everyday dishes.

豆腐を凍らせて乾燥させたものが高野豆腐です。また、豆腐を作るときにできる絞りかすはおからと呼ばれ、非常に安価なものでありながら現代の食生活で不足しがちな食物繊維を豊富に含むため、総菜の材料として利用する価値が十分にあります。

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