How to Make Tofu
I’ve been going back to basics recently, indulging in a bit of slow cooking. I have my own sourdough starter bubbling away happily, I’ve made ricotta and creme fraiche, I’ve hunted down wild garlic and nettle tips and it makes me smile. It isn’t a complicated way of cooking but it is deeply satisfying. Today I want to show you how to make tofu!
This has been a total revelation, it knocks spots off shop bought tofu, costs just a few pence to make, uses two ingredients and gives you three ingredients for the price of one!
The process is simple and is made up of a series of short steps so it really isn’t taxing but it does take time. This recipe is adapted from my well thumbed copy of Vikki Leng‘s A Vegetarian Feast which has been on my shelf since 1994.
You Will Need
2 cups (350g) dried soya beans, washed
3 litres cold water
2 teaspoons nigari dissolved in 3 tablespoons of water (you can use lemon juice or epsom salts as an alternative)
- Soak the beans overnight in 2 litres of the water
- Add the extra litre of water the following day
- Blitz the beans and the water in batches in a food processor using the blade attachment
- Pour the frothy beany liquid into a very large pan (I use my preserving pan)
- Bring the liquid to the boil, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes
- Pour the mixture though a colander lined with a large piece of muslin
- Allow the bean pulp (okara) to cool and then squeeze as much of the liquid out as you can
- Pour the resulting milk into a clean pan and heat it until just below boiling point
- Stir the mixture briskly until you have a mini whirlpool and pour the nigari in
- Cover and leave for 5 minutes or so while the curds form
- Line a large sieve with fresh muslin and place it over a bowl
- Gently pour the curds into the muslin
- Fold the muslin over the curds (still in the sieve) and place a heavy weight on top (I use a plate with a couple of baked bean tins on top)
- Leave for an hour or so to press out as much whey as possible
Use the tofu straight way or cover with water and refrigerate until needed.
I marinaded this batch in 2tbsps runny honey, 2tbsps soy sauce, 2tbsps chilli oil, 2tbsps olive oil, 2 cloves crushed garlic, half a red chilli diced, 1tsp English mustard powder
Then I oven roasted it at 200°C for 20 minutes, turning once. The outside was crispy and the inside was soft and delicious. I loved how it puffed up a bit in the oven and it went down well with the whole family served with rice and oven roasted vegetables with the marinade poured over as a sauce.
Don’t throw the okara away, it can be used to make excellent veggie burgers, felafels and rissoles and the whey makes good base for homemade stock and soup! Three ingredients for the price of two!
You can make quick tofu by using ready made soya milk and adding the nigari as above and I’ve done this too. The resulting tofu is much softer and more similar to silken tofu which is really useful in desserts.