like cheeses, tofu has many variations, from farmhouse via silken (kinugoshi)
to frozen and freeze-dried. Here's a way to make it on a domestic
electric blender, food mill or meat grinder.
2 1/2 - 3 gallon cooking pot.
basin or 1 1/2 - 2 gallon pressing pot.
2 quart saucepan
rice paddle or long wooden spoon
shallow dipper or ladle about 1 inch deep and 3-4 inch diameter (or
a LARGE spoon)
potato masher or other stamper (or press)
1 cup measuring cup
large, round bottomed colander (must fit into pressing pot)
flat bottomed colander (settling container). Preferably square or
shallow fine mesh strainer or bamboo colander
(about 2 foot square) and a pressing sack (or somewhat coarser cheesecloth)
(yield varies very much with quality. New season's beans are best)
(Nigari). I use magnesium sulfate from the druggist (Epsom salts).
You can use vinegar, lime juice or lemon juice, but it gives poor
yields (in my view) and affects the taste. The real keenies
make their own nigari from seawater (where the sea is certified clean!)
by letting it evaporate and collecting the concentrated brine that
is left. Clean seawater can be used as is. One can also use
and soak 1 1/2 cups soybeans in 6 cups water for 10 hours. Rinse and
in advance: place pressing pot in sink and set colander into pot.
Moisten pressing sack lightly and line colander with sack. Line
settling container with moistened cheesecloth. Place container
on rim of large bowl placed in sink.
7 1/2 cups water over high heat in cooking pot. While water is
heating, divide beans into two equal portions. Combine 1 portion
with 2 cups water in the blender. Puree until very smooth.
Add puree to water heating (or boiling by now) in pot. Puree the
remaining soybeans with 2 cups and add to pot. (If using a meat grinder,
grind beans without adding water and add 4 cups more water to the cooking
pot). Rinse out blender and add rinsings to cooking pot.
heating on high heat. Stir frequently (to prevent goop sticking
to bottom of pot). When foam suddenly rises in pot, turn off the
heat (fast!) and pour contents of cooking pot into pressing sack.
Clean out goop in pot and add to pressing sack. Rinse out pot
and replace on stove.
hot pressing sack closed. Press out as much soymilk as possible.
Shake out the pressed bean mash and empty into bowl. Add 3 cups
water and stir well. Repress to get the last drop of soymilk out.
The mash is called okara. Empty it into 2 qt saucepan and set
use 2 teaspoons Epsom salts dissolved in 1 cup water as solidifier for
the above quantities.
soymilk to and fro vigorously. While stirring, add 1/3 of solidifier
solution. Stir 5 or 6 times more. Include sides and bottom of
pot in your stirring pattern. Bring stirrer upright in center
of pan and hold there while all turbulence ceases. Lift out stirrer.
Sprinkle 1/2 solidifier solution over surface of soymilk. Cover pot.
Wait 3 minutes. Uncover pot. Sprinkle rest of solution over
surface of soymilk.
slowly stir the upper 1 1/2 inch layer of curdling soymilk for 15 -
20 seconds. Cover pot and wait 6 minutes. Uncover and stir
surface layer once again for 20 - 30 seconds or until all milky liquid
curdles. (If any milky liquid remains, as contrasted to the white clouds
of curd, wait a minute, then stir again. If it still won't come
down, add about 1/4 of original amount of solidifier, dissolved in 1/3
cup water and pour directly on uncurdled portions. Stir gently
cooking pot next to settling container in sink. Gently press fine
mesh container into cooking pot and allow several cups of whey to collect
in it. Ladle all of this whey into settling container to re-moisten
lining cloth. Set strainer aside.
curds gently, one layer at a time, into settling container. Fold
edges of cloth neatly over curds. Place lid on top of cloth. Press
under about 1 - 1 1/3 pounds for 10 - 15 minutes, or until whey no longer
drips from settling container.
a large basin or pressing pot or sink with cold water. Remove
weight and lid from tofu in container. Place container holding
tofu upside down in cold water. Remove container and gently unwrap
tofu block. Cut block crosswise into two halves. Allow to
rest under water for about 5 minutes. Slip a plate under each
block in turn to remove from water. Allow to drain briefly.
whey is one of the most beautiful bath additives I know. Allows
a wonderful polish to be given to the best glasses, too. Great
shampoo. The Okara can be used to make cookies (great with coconut).
You can also put a little in a bag and use it as a wooden furniture
polish (!). Just rub the cloth bag over the furniture. The
natural oils get squeezed out of the okara, and bring up the wood real
can slice this tofu with a thin (Japanese-style) chopstick. I
eat it straightaway with English mustard (hot!), wasabi (hotter! = Japanese
horseradish), a soysauce and sherry dip, or any other dip I fancy.
are many other ways to make and enjoy tofu. And many ways to process
it after it has been made. If it's still in print, I can do not
better than recommend a book: The Book of Tofu -- Food for Mankind,
by William Shurtleff & Akiko Aoyagi, Autumn Press, 1975.
want to thank Ian and Ineke Priestnall of Assendelft, Netherlands
for this recipe.