History of Tofu - Page 3

by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi

A Chapter from the Unpublished Manuscript, History of Soybeans and
Soyfoods, 1100 B.C. to the 1980s

©Copyright 2004 Soyfoods Center, Lafayette, Californi


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The War and Postwar Periods (1940-1959) . During World War II and the decade that followed, tofu making in Japan changed more than it had in the previous thousand years. The war brought about two important changes: the change from natural nigari to calcium sulfate curding agents and the development of pressed silken tofu. Up until 1941, virtually all of the tofu made in Japan was curded with natural nigari. A detailed history of nigari in Japan is given in The Book of Tofu (Shurtleff and Aoyagi 1975, p. 284-85, 213). When the war started, the Japanese government appropriated all of the country's nigari (which is primarily magnesium chloride) for use as a source of magnesium to build lightweight aircraft. Tofu makers were forced to switch to calcium sulfate and consumers generally agreed that the flavor of the tofu suffered as a result. After the war, however, most tofu shops continued to use calcium sulfate for various reasons: (1) it was easier and quicker to use and it gave considerably higher bulk yields of tofu, which meant higher profits; (2) it greatly increased the calcium content of the tofu, which was important in a country which used little dairy products; (3) the war had disrupted the supply lines from the salt fields to the tofu shops; and (4) after World War II only relatively refined grades of salt were sold in Japan so that small producers could not make their own nigari, as they once had done, by letting it drip from unrefined natural salt suspended in a sack.

Tofu was used in Japan's wartime army rations, primarily in the form of canned Inari-zushi. Lager (1945) wrote that this had been discovered in captured Japanese army rations by the US Board of Economic Warfare: "It is, in fact, a sort of cooked sandwich, in which boiled rice takes the place of bread and the soybean curd or protein takes the place of meat."

During the war, every effort was made to conserve food. Dr. Umetaro Suzuki, who was famous for his discovery of thiamine (vitamin B-1) developed the world's first "whole-bean" tofu in which neither the okara nor the whey were discarded, thus saving the loss of some water soluble proteins, vitamins, oil, and dietary fiber. Equally important, the new type of silken tofu was curded with calcium sulfate, which added essential calcium to the Japanese diet. Repeat?? Dr. Suzuki called this new tofu Kenmin-dofu ("healthy-people tofu"). (Ref??? Wata 60??). He worked with Dr. Kinichiro Sakaguchi and the National Food Research Center (under the Ministry of Agriculture or Norinsho , which then controlled all of the soybean distribution in the country), to have groups of Japanese tofu makers in various provinces make this new whole-bean tofu. Soon the tofu associations in Shimonoseki, Fuse City, Osaka, one part of Nagoya, and Kanda, had started to produce this new, more nutritious silken tofu. Shortly thereafter, however, the war ended and the project was discontinued, but its effects were far reaching in at least two ways. First, it could be called the first nationally coordinated effort to modernize the Japanese tofu industry. Second, in the years that followed, regular silken tofu, which did not contain the okara like Kenmin-dofu, but which was curded with calcium sulfate, became extremely popular for the first time throughout Japan. Most Japanese had their first taste of silken tofu during the 1950s. Prior to the war the only silken tofu was curded with nigari and, since it was very difficult to make and to transport, only a handful of shops made it. By the early 1960s, most Japanese tofu shops were making the new calcium sulfate silken tofu. Recall that the earliest use of calcium as a curding agent for firm tofu had occurred in China at an earlier date.

In the decade between 1950 and 1960 important changes took place in the tofu-making ingredients and equipment. Natural nigari was almost completely replaced by calcium sulfate, less expensive American-grown soybeans gradually replaced their Japanese-grown counterparts (although most tofu makers agreed, and still agree, that the latter gave tofu a better flavor), some of the whole soybeans were replaced by very low-cost defatted soybean meal, and much of the well water, contaminated by industrial pollution, was replaced by municipal water. By 1958 some tofu shops were using higher speed pressure cookers and boilers in place of the traditional caldron to cook the soy puree. Wood fires began to be replaced by fuel-oil burners; lever presses by hand-turned screw presses, centrifuges, or hydraulic presses; hand-turned stone mills by their higher-speed motorized counterparts, and wooden boxes and barrels by their more sanitary and lighter weight aluminum or stainless steel equivalents.

In 1955 a specially processed type of solvent-extracted defatted soybean meal, which sold for 75-80% the price of whole soybeans, first came to be used in tofu production in Japan, generally at the 25-30% level mixed with ground whole soybeans, and employed mainly for making deep-fried tofu pouches and a little for burgers. Developed mainly by Honen Oil Co. and Sugiyama Sangyo Kagaku Kenkyujo, its use increased rapidly during the 1960s.

The 1950s saw the development of two new types of tofu: bagged lactone silken tofu ( fukuroiri-dofu ) and pressed silken tofu ( softo-dofu ). The former type, which used glucono delta-lactone (GDL) as a coagulant, was patented in the mid-1950s and started to become popular in about 1958-59. GDL, discovered in France by Boutroux in 1898 while doing research on milk enzymes, was first used as a tofu coagulant during the mid-1950s. By the 1970s it would begin to revolutionize the tofu industry in Japan. Bagged lactone silken tofu is made by mixing a little GDL into cold soymilk, then running the mixture into sausage-shaped plastic bags, each typically 2 inches in diameter, 5-7 inches long, and of 300-350 ml capacity. After the bag is sealed, it is immersed in hot water at about 85*C (185*F) for 50 minutes until the tofu sets like a pudding and its simultaneously pasteurized. Prior to 1960 most of Japan's tofu made with GDL was produced in small neighborhood tofu shops. The second type of new tofu was pressed silken tofu; it is not known exactly when or by whom it was developed??. It was made by coagulating rich soymilk in a curding vat with calcium sulfate until it set like a pudding (without separation of curds and whey), carefully scooping large slices of the curd into a perforated, cloth-lined forming box, then pressing them under a heavily-weighted lid until they fused. This tofu was firmer, more cohesive, and less delicate than regular silken tofu made with calcium sulfate, but softer, smoother textured, and higher yielding than regular tofu.

In 1957 Hayashi gave a good overview of the Japanese tofu industry. There were 45,000 tofu manufacturers, of which about 23,000 were members of the national tofu trade association. The average plant used about 20-25 kg (44-55 lb) of soybeans a day, but one large factory (probably making dried-frozen tofu) used 2 tonnes of soybeans a day. In 1958 Smith provided a detailed look at the industry, reporting 40,000 members of the trade association and 10,000 non-members.

The Modern Period (1960-1980s) . The most important developments ushering in the modern era were the studies published in 1960 by Watanabe and co-workers on the rationalization and modernization of the tofu making process, the development of packaged lactone (GDL) silken tofu, which greatly facilitated the mechanization of the tofu making process, the development of large and automated tofu making equipment, the rise of the modern tofu factory, and the retailing of tofu through supermarket chains. At the start of the modern period, the Japanese tofu industry was highly decentralized, consisting of some 50,000 family-run cottage industries. There were only a handful of what might be called tofu "factories," except for the factories producing dried-frozen tofu (to be discussed later). The number of tofu shops in Japan had steadily increased from after the war until about 1962, when it reached 54,000 (Smith 1963). Thereafter the number began a rapid decline, which has continued to the present time.

Since earliest times, Japan had produced a fairly large proportion of the soybeans used for food in the country. Most of these were grown on the cold northerly island of Hokkaido; the balance was imported from Manchuria and China. In 1949 and 1950, the Communist victory in China, the break in trade relations between Japan and the PRC, and the start of the Korean war, cut off much of these supplies. The American military government shipped Japan US soybeans in the years just after World War II as a source of protein for the Japanese people. By 1955 Japan was buying some 250,000 tonnes of US soybeans a year. The tofu industry was using about 300,000 tonnes of soybeans a year, of which two-thirds were produced in Japan and the remaining one-third were imported. In April 1956 the American Soybean Association opened its first overseas office in Tokyo and set to work to increase consumption of US beans. In 1961 Japan relaxed restrictions on soybean imports; use of US soybeans increased rapidly increased. By 1963 Japan was importing 1,088,400 tonnes of US soybeans. These quickly replaced domestic and imported Chinese soybeans for use in making tofu.

It was not easy to get Japanese tofu makers to switch from their cherished traditional Japanese soybeans (which were largely vegetable type) to the imported US beans, even though the latter were less expensive. In the late 1950s tofu makers were reporting that US soybeans, having long been bred for high oil content, gave tofu a relatively low yield, poor texture, beany flavor, and undesirable color. In addition the shipments contained too much foreign matter, splits, and broken beans. So in 1957 Mr. Tokuji Watanabe was invited to take a year's leave from the Japan Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to work with Dr. A.K. Smith at the USDA Northern Regional Research Center in Peoria, Illinois. The research, funded by US soybean interests, attempted to find US soybean varieties well suited to the tofu making process and perhaps to modify the traditional tofu process to adapt it to US soybeans. In 1960, Smith, Watanabe, and Nash published "Tofu from United States Soybeans," noting that at least flavor was not one of the problems with US beans. Using calcium sulfate as a coagulant, they found, ameliorated some of the other problems. Lee and Jackson varieties of US soybeans were found to make tofu equal in acceptability to that from Japanese soybeans. Upon returning to Japan, Watanabe and co-workers at Tokyo's prestigious National Food Research Institute continued this work, with the first extensive scientific studies on the tofu-making process. In 1960 they published (in Japanese) a lengthy work entitled "Research on Standardization of the Tofu Making Process." It was divided into three parts: Regular Tofu, Silken Tofu, and Bagged Lactone Silken Tofu. By carefully investigating the relationships among the important production variables, the researchers were able to make the process more rational and efficient and provide solid factual data to complement what had formerly been individual opinion based on experience, tradition, and intuition. Their main aims were to increase tofu yields and to decrease production times and costs. Hoping to standardize tofu making nationwide, they urged producers to use calcium sulfate (which increased yields but also increased the tofu water content) and pressure cookers (to reduce cooking time). Remarkably, the question of tofu's flavor was never raised. Replete with excellent graphs, charts, and tables, the report and the subsequent efforts to introduced its ideas to all Japanese tofu makers, played a major role in the modernization process and helped to greatly expand the use of US soybeans in Japanese tofu production. Starting in the early 1960s the US-funded Japanese American Soybean Institute sponsored a program to encourage the production of the new soft tofu. In 1971 Watanabe, Ebine, and Ohta, all of the National Food Research Institute, published Soyfoods Production ( Daizu Shokuhin ), the first book of its type in Japan; it had a long section on tofu manufacture. In 1981 Watanabe was in the process of writing an entire book on tofu. Over the years the Food Research Institute continued to play an active role in the modernization of the tofu process. In 1974 and 1975, for example, Saio and co-workers did important studies on the effect of 7S and 11S globulins on the characteristics of regular and deep-fried tofu.

During the 1960s the use of defatted soybean meal, introduced in tofu making in 1955, increased. In 1961 271,000 tonnes of whole soybeans and 30,000 tonnes of defatted meal were used in tofu manufacture; in 1963 the figures were 285,000 tonnes and 65,000 tonnes respectively. By 1973 the meal comprised about 34% of all soybeans used to make tofu in Japan. However by 1980, even the largest factories competing to make the lowest cost tofu had returned to the use of 100% whole soybeans since the latter, although slightly more expensive, gave tofu with the best flavor, texture, and color. By 1964, 60% of all soybeans used to make soyfoods in Japan were used to make tofu; 10% of the tofu beans were grown in Japan and the rest were imported, mainly from the US (Abe 1964).

During the 1960s tofu makers were increasingly introduced to modern concepts of sanitation, standards were set by the government, and inspections and plate counts were done regularly. An increasing number of new chemicals also came to be used, quite uncritically, by tofu makers: preservatives, chemical defoamers, non-sticking powders, tofu pouch expanding powders, and the like. The use of these continued unabated until the mid-1970s when their potential dangers were finally realized. The main tofu preservative, Furylfuamide (AF-2) was banned in 1974 after it was shown to cause genetic mutation in lower animals. It was later shown to be one of the most potent of all known genetic mutagens.

Starting in the early 1960s the full impact of the Western industrial revolution and scientific consciousness hit the traditional Japanese craftsmanship consciousness, with the result that the latter began to wane. Work came to be seen primarily as an economic enterprise and, for many, making tofu become just another job or business. The spirit of craftsmanship and practice was gradually diluted or largely forgotten as emphasis shifted to productivity, efficiency, cost reduction, and growth. Profitability took on a new importance as commercialism became the order of the day. The master-disciple relationship was eventually reduced to a 3-month training program or eliminated altogether, and tofu making contests had been discontinued altogether by the early 1970s. With the decline in the perceived value of the work itself and the importance of daily practice came an inevitable and gradual shift from emphasis on tofu quality to tofu standardization.

It was at just this juncture that the rise of the modern Japanese tofu factory began. The earliest factories, started during the 1960s, were basically larger scale models of the smaller shops built using continuous process cooking and extraction equipment to produce regular tofu curded with calcium sulfate. Use of the new coagulant greatly simplified the curding process so that outside workers with no tofu-making experience could be hired and taught the process in a few days. Also during the early 1960s dried-frozen tofu came to be made in large modern factories, but using the traditional nigari-type coagulant. By 1962 the largest such factories were using 10 tonnes of dry soybeans a day (Smith 1963). The second generation of tofu factories, which started in about 1973 and were much bigger than their predecessors, made packaged lactone silken tofu ( juten-dofu ), a development that was based on the earlier bagged lactone silken tofu, whose production was growing by the early 1960s, but which was gradually replaced by its packaged counterpart so that by the late 1970s the bagged tofu survived only in the northeast provinces. Packaged lactone silken tofu was sold in 300-gm cakes in a plastic tub sealed with a plastic film. The rapid growth of production of both regular calcium sulfate tofu and packaged lactone silken tofu in factories was spurred by the development of new tofu packaging technology (plastic cartons or tubs) and high-speed packaging machines. Pasteurization of the tofu by immersion in hot water greatly extended the shelf life. This, accompanied by the rise of refrigerated foods and their delivery and storage systems, and a growing number of huge chain stores and supermarkets, made it possible for one single giant tofu factory to service a far-flung network of retail food stores. Many food chains started their own tofu factories.

By 1969 a number of larger tofu factories were using over 600 kg (1320 lb) of dry soybeans a day, and the largest ones were producing 20,000 cakes of tofu daily, using an automatic packaging machine that packed 40 cakes (each 300 gm) per minute. By 1978 the largest factory in Japan making regular tofu, Takatsuka Marugo, was using 15,000 kg (33,000 lb or 16.5 tons) of whole dry soybeans a day to make five or six types of traditional tofu. The largest lactone silken tofu factory (Asahi Shokuhin, established in 1972) was making 100,000 cakes (300 gm each) per 8-hour shift, using only 6-8 workers. This silken tofu sold in 1978 for the equivalent of $0.66/kg or $0.30/lb, which was about 55% the cost on an equal weight basis of the regular tofu sold in neighborhood tofu shops. The huge and highly mechanized equipment used in the new tofu factories was made and often custom designed by companies such as Takai and Sato Shoji.

Some of the more important changes taking place in the Japanese tofu industry between the late 1950s and the present are summarized in Figure ??. The decreased in the total number of licensed shops from 52,000 in 1961 to 29,650 in August 1980, a 43% decrease in 19 years, has been mentioned earlier. This was caused primarily by small shops being unable to compete with large factories and sons not taking over their father's shops. In 1965 there was one tofu shop for every 2,059 Japanese people; in 1977 one for every 3,200. The total production of tofu rose dramatically from 600,000 tonnes in 1960 to 1,485,000 tonnes in 1980. Correspondingly raw soybeans used in tofu production increased from 151,000 tonnes to 300,000 tonnes in 1980. The higher yields were due to the increased production of lactone silken tofu. Per capita consumption of tofu rose from 6.4 kg per year in 1960 to 10 kg in 1973, then skyrocketed to 13.2 kg in 1980. The price of a 300-gram cake of tofu almost tripled between 1967 and 1977 from 22 yen to 64 yen ($0.061 to $0.224). Note that this was still only $0.34 per pound in US dollars in 1977. In 1981 an estimated 40% of all tofu was regular and deep-fried, 30% was silken tofu made with calcium sulfate, and 30% was lactone silken tofu. A major reason for the rise of tofu consumption in the late?? 1970s was the 200-mile offshore fishing limit which reduced the fish catch and raised fish prices dramatically; many people ate more tofu and less fish.

A thumbnail sketch of the tofu industry and individual shops in 1978 is revealing. The average plant used 40-50 kg (88-110 lb) of dry soybeans a day. Over 85% of all producers were cottage industries run by a single family in a shop adjoining their home. Many of these smaller shops used as little as 25 kg (55 lb) of dry soybeans daily. About 20% of all producers used more than 100 kg (220 lb) of dry soybeans daily and more than 20 large factories used more than 3,500 kg a day. The industry, employing 97,410 production workers, used a total of 445,000 tons?? (tonnes??) of dry soybeans a year to produce 1,780,000 tons?? of tofu worth $854,000,000. The average Japanese consumed 16.2 kg (35.6 lb) of tofu a year or 44.3 grams a day.

A study from November 1980 showed that the average tofu plant used 139 kg of soybeans a day to make 449 kg of all types of tofu products, for a bulk yield of 3.2. This included 273 kg of regular, silken and pressed silken tofu (about 60% of the total), 94 kg of lactone silken tofu, 59 kg of deep-fried tofu (including 29 kg of tofu pouches), and 23 kg of grilled tofu; 14.7% of all Japanese tofu shops made some lactone silken tofu. Moreover, small shops still produced 90% of all Japan's tofu, 92% of the soybeans used were imported, yet 85% of all tofu was sold through supermarkets; 81% of all shops were sole proprietorships, 56% were started after 1945, 26% of the owners had a second job in addition to making tofu, and 47% had only one or two workers ( Daizu Tanpaku Shimbun , June 15).

Starting in the late 1970s the tofu boom in America began to affect tofu in Japan. News of American interest in tofu was widely carried by the media. Tofu came to be seen as one of Japan's best known foods overseas. In 1980 the Japan Tofu Association and the American Soybean Association published a large color poster showing a hefty, mustached American chef, in full chef's attire, cutting a cake of tofu. The bold caption read "Tofu Good!" The message for the Japanese was clearly "If Americans like it, it must be good." Tofu sales increased rapidly. Top Tokyo restaurants started to feature "Tofu Steaks," a piece of grilled tofu with a barbecue-style sauce. It sold like crazy to Japanese and American tourist alike. Marathon winners, when asked what they ate, often said tofu, which was seen as a stamina food. Americans William Shurtleff and Linda Barber appeared frequently on Japanese national TV demonstrating favorite Western tofu recipes, and teaching Japanese how to make tofu at home. A traditional Japanese food was clearly winning a new and fashionable image in its homeland.

Although major and far-reaching changes took place in the world of tofu, most of these related to tofu production and marketing. The way tofu was served has scarcely changed in 50-100 years. In 1981 an estimated 80% of all tofu in Japan was eaten in only three recipes: Chilled Tofu ( Hiya-yakko ), Miso Soup with Tofu ( Tofu no Miso-shiru ), and Simmering Tofu ( Yu-dofu ). Other fairly popular uses included Sukiyaki , Oden , Dengaku , Nishime , Mabo-dofu , and Iri-dofu . In the coming years we may expect to find tofu being used in more Western style recipes, perhaps tofu burgers or creamy tofu salad dressings, or desserts . . . plus, of course, tofu steaks.

We foresee the following future trends. Tofu, along with other soyfoods, will play an increasingly important role as a protein source in the Japanese diet as animal protein sources become relatively more expensive and less favorably regarded. Per capita tofu consumption will continue to increase. The percentage of tofu made in large, centralized factories and the percentage of lactone silken tofu will continue to increase rapidly. The traditional caldron shop will be replaced by the pressure cooker plant, but there may be an increase in the use of nigari as consumers take greater interest in the flavor of fresh tofu.


After its development in China, tofu gradually spread to other countries in East and Southeast Asia. Unfortunately we have been unable to find any but the scantiest information about the history of this dissemination. It is generally agreed, however, that the two main groups taking tofu abroad were Chinese emigrants and Buddhists. The first tofu shops were generally established in Chinatowns or temples, then gradually the local population learned the process.

Korea . The transmission of tofu to Korea probably took place between the 10th and 12th centuries, as tofu made its way to Japan. Korean tofu today is midway in firmness between that of China and that of Japan, and the per capita consumption in Korea is less than in China or Japan. The Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945 introduced the various types of Japanese tofu to Korea, which also influenced production of traditional Korean tofu varieties. In 1981 in South Korea there were 500 to 800 tofu plants making about 250,000 tonnes of tofu. The main products were medium-firm Korean tofu ( tubu ), deep-fried tofu strips ( yubu ), and soymilk curds ( sun tubu ).

Taiwan . Tofu was probably brought to Taiwan by emigrants from south China, especially from Fujian and Guangdong provinces. The modern influence of the Japanese occupation from 1895-1945 was very strong, as was the influence of large numbers of northern Chinese who arrived with Chiang Kai-shek after his defeat by Chinese communists in 1949. In 1981 there were from 1,410 to 2,000 tofu plants in Taiwan, serving 15 million people. Per capita tofu consumption ranged from 37.1 kg in 1975 to 34.9 kg in 1979. In about 1970 a book on tofu was published in Taipei titled Hsian-hua Tou-fu ("An insignificant/leisurely talk on tofu" Ref??). In 1975 Lin Hai-yin wrote Chung-kuo Doufu (Chinese Tofu) plus a number of good informal articles on tofu. The same basic types of tofu are made in Taiwan as are made in mainland China.

Malaysia and Indonesia . Tofu was introduced to the Malay world by people from the Fujian-Guangdong border between Amoy and Swatow, as shown by distinctive dialect words borrowed into Malay and Indonesian. Tauhu , the word for tofu in Malaysia and Indonesia, is their pronunciation of the Cantonese daufu or dow-foo. Also the types of tofu found in Malaysia and Indonesia are very similar to those found in south China, including the types of fermented tofu, pressed tofu, and deep-fried tofu. During the 1930s descriptions of tofu in Indonesia were given by Ochse (1931) and Burkill (1935). Both mentioned that tofu cakes were colored yellow by a solution of turmeric or gardenia flowers, then wrapped in cotton cloth and pressed to make them firmer and longer lasting. In 1979 there were over 11,000 tofu shops in Indonesia (Winarno 1976; Shurtleff and Aoyagi 1979), serving 130 million people. The main types of tofu were firm Indonesian tofu ( tahu ), deep-fried tofu cubes ( tahu goreng ), tofu chips ( krupuk tahu ), and fermented tofu ( taokoan or takoa ). In about 1979 an Indonesian Tofu and Tempeh trade association was established, and by 1980 modern tofu making equipment was being imported from Takai in Japan.

Vietnam . Tofu was transmitted from south China at an early but unknown date. In 1905 Bui gave a detailed and illustrated account of how tofu was made in Vietnam, and stated that a lot was made in Tonkin (North Vietnam), especially in Hanoi, where it constituted the basis of the poor people's food. There were no large manufacturers. Soured whey was used as a coagulant and the fresh whey was used as a soap. In Annam (Central Vietnam) there were two types of tofu: firm tofu ( dau-hu or dau-phu ) and a softer one (probably curds) called dau-hu-ao . Both were popularly served with Vietnamese soy sauce ( tuong ). Tofu cakes were thin: 6 by 3 by 3/8 inch thick. Beltzer (1911) studied tofu in Annam and Cochin (South Vietnam). In the former area the three main types of tofu were (1) a fermented tofu with a flavor like Roquefort cheese, (2) a white or salted tofu resembling goat's milk cheese, and (3) a smoked or baked tofu that looked like Gruyere cheese. The tofu was said to be curded with the naturally occurring mineral calcined selenite, called Tchach-Kao . In 1942 Giraud-Gillet described many types of Vietnamese tofu, including thin brown cakes of pressed tofu ( dau hu ky ngot ), pressed tofu sheets ( tau hu ky vang ), small white cakes ( tao-hu trang or dau phu mieng ), and soymilk curds ( dau-hu-hoa ). Other types include fermented tofu ( chao ) and pressed tofu sheets (mi cang ). During the 1970s, as Vietnam fought the US, and after independence in 1975, tofu became less widely available.

Philippines . Tofu was introduced to the Philippines by Chinese. In 1665 the Italian Navarrete mentioned that he believed the Chinese of Manila made tofu there, but no European ate it, probably because they had never tasted it (Cummins 1962; Hymowitz 1981). The next earliest known reference to tofu in the Philippines was in 1912, when Gibbs (a Professor of Chemistry at the University of the Philippines) and Agcaoili wrote an article about it, replete with photographs of the production process. They noted that tofu was called toqua and that it was made mostly by Chinese in large cities using sea water, magnesium chloride, or calcium sulfate as coagulants. A fermented tofu ( tahuri or tahuli ) was imported from south China in large stone jars. Pressed tofu was generally baked slightly before being sold to extend the storage life. An analysis of baked tofu was given. In 1932 Orosa gave the most detailed account to date of tofu in the Philippines. She noted that it " . . . has become a very popular food in Manila, where there are Chinese who manufacture it for sale." She gave a very thorough description of the manufacturing process and also described the methods for preparing and serving soymilk curds ( tojo or "bean curd brains"), firm tofu (dipped in burnt millet sugar sauce and rubbed with fine salt), five-spice pressed tofu, and pressed tofu sheets. The latter, on standing, were said to mold and develop a meatlike flavor. They were then fried in sesame oil and served in place of meat.

A revival of academic interest in tofu began in 1979 when Escuenta wrote a PhD thesis on tofu at Cornell. He developed the highly creative idea of adding 20-30% coconut milk to the soymilk before curding to double the caloric density and impart a subtle coconut flavor. The modern names for tofu are regular tofu ( tokwa ), soymilk curds ( tajo , pronounced ta-HO), and brine-fermented tofu ( tahuri ).

Thailand . In 1979 there were about 200 tofu shops. For product names see The Book of Tofu (Shurtleff and Aoyagi 1979).

Sri Lanka . See Chapter 82.

India . Tofu is very similar to India's nonfermented dairy cheese, panir , which should greatly facilitate tofu introduction. The first tofu shop was started near Auroville in southwest India in 1976. Most of the tofu makers were Westerners.


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