The Japan Tofu Association is Japan's representative body of all domestic tofu producers.
Vegetarians and “Tofu”
Throughout the world the population of vegetarians is increasing every year. In the United States vegetarians, people struggling with obesity as a result of meat-based diets, and sufferers of lifestyle related diseases have all come to place more focus on the highly nutritional low cholesterol Japanese cuisine.
As a source of high quality protein, tofu, referred to as the “Meat of the Fields” and the “Boneless meat” is increasingly popular. A 300g block of tofu (1-Cho) contains 19.8g of protein. Pork contains 8g. Although there is little difference between the amount of protein in tofu, pork and/or fish, tofu has a lower calorie count in comparison. Consequently, tofu is getting a lot of attention as a diet food. Many people say that they “discovered tofu in their quest to find foods with no additives”. The reputation of tofu as a natural food is rapidly rising.
Tofu has become an essential item on the menus of natural food restaurants in the United States. One of the popular dishes is Tofu Steak, in which tofu is crushed to give it the appearance of meat. Apparently, piping hot “Tofu Steak” seems just like a juicy piece of meat. Other meat substitute dishes include tofu curry, tofu spaghetti sauce, tofu sandwiches, tofu burgers, etc. There is an abundance of tofu based culinary arrangements and variations. Desserts made from tofu such as tofu ice-cream and tofu cheesecake, etc, are also very popular.
“The Book of Tofu” by William Shurtleff & Akiko Aoyagi was published in the United States in 1975. Since, it has sold 100,000 copies and the paperback edition is still popular to this day. This book contains a bountiful 250 tofu-based recipes ranging from hors d’oeuvres to main dishes and desserts. At the time of publication the New York Times featured an article stating “The west wakes up to the wonders of tofu”. This book was highly rated. The power of tofu brought about changes in the American diet.
Incidentally, American tofu has far less water content than Japanese tofu so is much firmer.