Monday, October 31, 2011

Homemade tofu without all that fancy Japanese stuff

Yes, I made tofu in Perú.

It just so happened that one of the local shops was selling soy beans, so I picked some of those suckers up.

Of course, I had no fancy Japanese tofu molds or imported nigari (coagulant) or cheesecloth. So all of the following should be what you can do from your own home-sweet-home without ordering anything from the internet.

My recipe uses a T-shirt (for straining), a plastic colander & tupperware container with holes poked in it (molds), and plain-old white vinegar. Suuuuper cheap. The whole process takes about 2 hours, so if I was in the US I probably wouldn't go through the trouble. But seeing as there is no tofu here in the farmlands of Perú, it'll be worth it once & a while I think. Pardon the pictures, they were taken at night with an old camera :/

First we'll make soymilk, mmm. Warning: this does not taste like Silk unless you water it down and add lots of vanilla and sugar.


Wash and pick through 500g. soy beans (a little over a pound), and leave them to soak 8 hours or overnight (change the water a couple times).


Put 16 cups of water on to boil. I used a huge industrial pot for this, you may need to use 2 different pots.


Discard the soaking liquid from the beans, and put a couple of cupfuls at a time in a blender, filling to a little above the beans with water (just so that the blender can work well). Blend a few minutes until nearly smooth. It turns into a really thick goo. Do this until all your beans are blended. Pour this mixture into the boiling water and turn it to medium heat. Stir this mixture constantly for about 20 minutes. The foam is normal, so if it starts to boil over remove briefly from the heat or sprinkle a little cold water over the top. But stirring constantly should help.


Turn off the heat and strain. I used an old T-shirt to strain the soymilk into a large bowl. Make sure all the liquid is strained, then put the solids (okari) into a separate bowl. I like to eat this with ginger and soy sauce, it's super good for you.


Put the soymilk back into your pot, and turn it onto medium-low heat. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of white vinegar over the top, stir, and wait a few minutes. Repeat this process until your curds have separated from the yellowish & watery whey. I wasn't measuring the vinegar, but I'm going to guesstimate that I used about a quarter of a cup of vinegar. Let the curds & whey sit for 15-20 minutes.


Line the colander with your T-shirt, put it in a container to catch the whey, then pour the contents of your pot into the colander. Squeeze the excess whey from the shirt and twist the shirt so that most of the excess liquid comes off from the curds. Discard the liquid.


Put your colander with curds inside of another bowl (one that fits so the bottoms don't touch--you want the water to drip away from the tofu). On top of your curds, put a fitting lid or plate, then put a bowl filled with the okari or water on top of THAT as a weight. Let sit for 10-30 minutes, depending on how soft you want your tofu.


EAT YOUR DELICIOUS TOFU! It's lovely just plain with soy sauce on top. It stays for a few days, and if you don't eat it immediately put it in water and keep it in the refrigerator.

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