Healthy Tofu Recipe: Edamame Tofu Cups
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A four-year old introduced me to Edamame. Sure, I’m familiar with tofu, tempeh and miso, soy-based products such as soy-milk, soy yogurt and mock meats made from soy but edamame? We were having dinner at a restaurant and this cute pint-sized girl (my friend’s daughter) asked for a serving of edamame. I was fascinated—even the name itself sounds exotic. When the waiter brought a basket of piping hot edamame (I instantly recognized it as soyabean pods) tastefully sprinkled with sea salt, I watched her attack her food with a relish that only a four child can get away with.
I’ll not discuss my naivete but suffice to say that I’m from Singapore and edamame is a Japanese word, meaning “branched bean.It’s the vegetable version of soybean, generally harvested when they’re 80 percent mature. In recent years, edamame has gained popularity due to its many health benefits. While some of the many acclaimed health benefits are still inconclusive, the fact remains that edamame is a nutritious healthy food.
What is Edamame?
As stated, it comes from the soybean plant, a member of the pea family. A subtropical plant, the pods grow in clusters and has been a staple in Asian countries for at least 5,000 years. Fresh soybean pods, harvested before they hardened is known as Edamame (in Japanese). Soybean was introduced to Japan after the Chinese-Japanese War of 1894-95.
In China, the earliest cultivation of soybean began in the 11th century B.C. in the eastern half of North China. Known as "Ta Tou" (or greater bean), its nutritional importance is underscored by its name. One of the emperors named it one of the five most sacred crops, securing its revered position together with rice, barley, wheat and millet.
Edamame can be eaten from the pods or shelled. Sweet, mild and nutty—it’s easy on the palate.
How Many Ways Can You Enjoy Edamame?
Too many ways for me to delineate but I’ll try. For starters, you can eat them steamed, boiled or microwaved (if you're in a hurry) whole then seasoned with your favorite seasonings. Often, they are served as finger foods in restaurants (bar foods, appetizers, side orders) or eaten as snacks by health conscious individuals. Whether you lick the seasoning off and then suck the beans off or carefully extract the beans from the pods before popping them in your mouth—eating edamame can be an adventure.
Shelled edamame can be used in salads, stir-fries, soups, casseroles, pureed for dips and sauces or blended in smoothies.
While experimenting with new ways to enjoy edamame, I came up with edamame tofu cups, my version of savory cupcakes with all the goodness of soy. Looks pretty but packs lots of nutritional punch. And the beauty of it—it doesn’t take much time or effort to make them.
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- 1/2 slab of soft tofu, cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup shelled edamame
- 15 to 20 pieces of tortilla chips
- 5 eggs
- 1/2 cup of water
- A drizzle of sesame oil
- A sprinkling of brown sugar, optional
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Add 5 eggs and 1/2 cup of water in a measuring cup or any deep bowl. Mix well.
- Put shelled edamame in a bowl and season them with a sprinkling of sesame oil and salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
- Spray muffin pans with non-stick spray.
- To each muffin cup, add 3 to 4 pieces of tortilla chips
- Top tortilla chips with a sprinlking of tofu cubes and seasoned edamame.
- Fill each muffin cups with the mixture of eggs and water, about 3/4 full.
- Bake at 375 degree Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until done.
- Garnish top with garnishing and broil for 2 to 3 minutes.
Edamame Tofu Cups--Light and Nutritious.
Health benefits of Edamame
Edamame Tofu Cups
|Serving size: 1 tofu cup|
|Calories from Fat||54|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 6 g||9%|
|Saturated fat 3 g||15%|
|Carbohydrates 3 g||1%|
|Fiber 2 g||8%|
|Protein 8 g||16%|
|Cholesterol 88 mg||29%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Health Benefits of Edamame
You may ask, “What is in it for me?” According to various health authorities, there are plenty of reasons to include edamame in your diet. It is high in protein and low in saturated fats, has no cholesterol and is loaded with phytonutrients and antioxidants. But that’s just the broad picture, let’s delve into specific health benefits:
- Great Source of protein
One cup of edamame has 16.9 g of protein and it constitutes 34 percent of the daily value. Consider another aspect—the protein source contains all nine essential amino acids that your body needs—a viable source of plant protein. Put these two facts together and you’ve one great protein source, a food group known for helping tissues develop properly and generating hormones, enzymes and energy amongst others.
- Rich in Isoflavones
Isoflavones found in Edamame are phytoestrogens, compounds that mimic estrogenic activities. Since estrogen tends to fluctuate during menopause causing symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness and headaches, consumption of soy products may relieve some of these symptoms. From an epidemiological point of view, in Japan, where the consumption of soy is high, menopausal symptoms are rarely reported.
- Soy and Cholesterol
Soy may lower high blood cholesterol. A meta-analysis of 38 research studies showed that soy protein may lower LDL (low density lipoproteins) and triglycerides. The Amercian Heart Association stated that some evidence existed to support the consumption of soy protein to lower cholesterol, though findings are still inconclusive.
- Soy and Cancer
According to various studies, soy may reduce the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men, in addition to reducing risks of other types of cancer. It goes on to add that evidence is limited.
- Soy and Osteoporosis.
As to whether soy prevent osteoporosis, there are conflicting findings. While some concluded that soy may prevent osteoporosis, others have reported no concluding evidence. According to John Hopkins Health Alert, there is no harm in soy-enriched products but no solid evidence to support the claim either.
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