Su-Fu

Su-fu [common or accepted name], toufu-ru, toufu-ju, furu, rufu, tou-ru [Mandarin], fuyu, funan [Cantonese], su- fu, tou-sufu [Shanghi], tahuri [Philippines], chao [Vietnam], taokoan, takoa [Indonesia]. It is obvious to see that su-fu goes by many names. Sufu originated in China and is also prepared in other Asian countries where variations of the product can be found. I shall relate to the culture-product as sufu from here on. Sufu is mostly sold in the west, more common under the name, Preserved Bean-curd. The product is commonly available from Asian grocery outlets. Strangely enough, sufu virtually means spoiled tofu, due to the strong flavour and pungent aroma. Sufu resembles the dairy equivalent in cheese, Parmesan or Camembert and is sometimes referred to as Chinese cheese. Vegans may find this amazing culture-food quite useful as an important digestible source of protein, rich in enzymes and amino acids. Sufu may satisfy cravings for cheese for individuals following a vegan diet. Recent studies has shown that the peptides in sufu are made up of 10 amino acids or less Sufu is prepared from approx. 2 cm [1 inch] cubes of tofu, which are initially sterilized by steaming or blanching. The cubes are cooled and inoculated with spores of the Mucor racemosus, Rhizopus spp. or Actinomucor elegans mold. Su-fu can also br prepared with the use of tempeh mold Rhizopus oligosporus. The inoculated cubes of tofu are skewered with thin long strips of bamboo and placed in a sealed cedar wood box and fermented at approx. 30 C [86 F] for 3 days, or until the tofu is completely covered by a white mycelium of mold. The molded tofu is placed in jars, and then filled with brine. The brine may consist of approx. 12 % salt solution, rice wine or approx. 10% alcohol. Depending on the variety of sufu, spices such as chili including sesame seed oil may be included to flavour the product. The sufu is aged between some months to some years before consumed. The aging process matures the sufu rendering the initial firm fresh tofu, into a soft, butter-like consistency. This makes sufu a highly digestible source of protein, due to the free amino acids converted by protease enzyme activity during the ripening process. There is also a red coloured variety of sufu prepared with the addition of Red Fermented Rice [ange-kakin in China]. Red fermented rice added in powdered form to the brine, produces a sufu with a natural red-colour due to strong red pigments of red fermented rice.

 

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