[Wellbeing & You] Tofu

June 28, 2023

Eat Seasonal

Tofu is a very popular product made from soybeans by using calcium sulphate or magnesium chloride as a coagulant to solidify boiled soymilk, and then press into tofu blocks. Thanks to the refrigeration system we have these days, short shelf-life tofu can now be enjoyed year-round. Immerge fresh tofu from the wet market in clean and cool water and place it in the fridge to last up to 2-3 days, otherwise it will only last for about a day under room temperature.


Tofu is a very versatile ingredient which you can find it served hot or cold, sweet or savory, as a main course, as a side dish or even as a dessert. Asian cuisine has incorporated tofu in a numerous way that offers a great variation in taste and texture. Apart from the internationally famous Mapo tofu originated from Sichuan, China, Korean tofu soup, Japanese cold tofu with sesame dressing and Hong Kong street-food deep-fried stuffed tofu are also some tofu dishes you may want to try.

Tofu as one of the many products of soybeans, it retains the abundant protein content from the beans to offer 11.4g protein and 8.9g protein in just ½ cup of firm tofu (126g) and soft tofu (124g) respectively. These amounts of protein are equivalent to almost 1.5-2 whole eggs (50g) which make tofu one of the most significant sources of dietary protein for vegetarians and vegan in Asia. Not only providing a plentiful quantity of protein, the quality of it is also as good as animal-based sources. Soybeans are one of the few plant-based protein that contains all the essential amino acids we must acquire through our diet, including one called tryptophan that supports the production of sleep hormone melatonin to regulate our sleep cycle.

Do you know tofu can be a good source of calcium to maintain healthy bone and teeth as well? However, calcium content varied a lot based on the formula used by manufacturers, especially the choice of coagulant used. In general, tofu made with calcium sulphate contains more calcium than the ones made with magnesium chloride and firm tofu has more calcium than soft tofu does. Checking nutrition labels on pre-packaged tofu is a good way to determine the amount of calcium in the products.

Tofu is a great addition to our diet bringing valuable nutrients to maintain wellness and diversifying our food choices to make meals more enjoyable.


Tofu’s protein quality and quantity makes it a great substitution for animal-based protein in our diet which allows us to reduce our carbon footprint and water footprint generated from the food we consumed. Since tofu goes well with many other ingredients in both eastern and western cuisines, it can be a good starting point for new beginners who want to take a step in a more environmentally friendly eating habit to save our planet.

Compass Chef’s Recipe Sharing

Tofu Spinach Dip

Joseph Chu
Culinary Director
Compass Group Hong Kong Limited
Prep Time: 10min
Cook Time: 10min
Total Time: 20min
Serve: 2
·       1 cup (60g) fresh baby spinach
·       1 tablespoon olive oil
·       200g medium firm tofu
·       1 small garlic clove
·       ½ teaspoon salt
·       ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
·       3 tablespoons lemon juice
·       ¼ white onion
·       2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
·       White pepper
1.       In a small cooking pan, sauté baby spinach in olive oil until wilted, and then let cool
2.       Wring out all the excess water
3.       Transfer spinach to the bowl of a blender
4.       Add tofu and all other ingredients and then blend until smooth
5.       Serve with cut vegetables, bread, or crackers
Myth buster
Eating tofu with spinach will increase risk of developing kidney stones!
No! No! No! Although it is true that calcium oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stone, when we eat spinach and tofu together, the oxalate in spinach will combine with calcium in tofu in our gut which is then not being absorbed into our blood, and therefore will NOT increase risk of forming kidney stones.


  1. FoodData Central – Tofu, soft, prepared with calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride (nigari). Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172449/nutrients Access on 27Jun2023.
  2. FoodData Central – Tofu, firm, prepared with calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride (nigari). Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172448/nutrients Access on 27Jun2023.