Soft, bland, custardlike food product made from soybeans. Believed to date from China's Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 220), tofu is today an important source of protein in the cuisines of East and Southeast Asia. It is made from dried soybeans that are soaked in water, crushed, and boiled to produce a solid pulp and liquid soy milk. Coagulants are then added to the milk to separate the curds from the whey. The resulting soft cakes are cut into squares and stored in water.