Lots of people who watch cooking shows have probably seen how tofu is made, and decided that it is complicated. It looks complicated because the tofu is being made on an industrial scale. But it is actually possible and rather easy to make tofu at home. First, we will explore what exactly tofu is, and then walk through an easy recipe for people to make at home.
What is Tofu?
Tofu is soybean curd. It originated in China and became so popular around Asia that every Asian cuisine uses their own version of it. It is soft even when it is firm, easy to digest, packed with protein and inexpensive. A 6-ounce block of tofu has only 100 calories but is 6 percent protein. If it is freeze-dried, the amount of protein can be as high as 53 percent. It is also cholesterol free and low in carbohydrates. Tofu has little taste of its own but beautifully absorbs the flavors of what it is cooked with and adds mouth feel. It can be deep fried, baked, grilled, made into bricks or sliced into thin cakes, deep fried then slit open to make pouches stuffed with sushi rice.
Making Tofu at Home
Like some kinds of cheese, a cook will need some equipment to make tofu. The proper tools include:
- Tofu mold, either a traditional wooden or a plastic one
- Pressing cloth
- Cloth to line the mold
- Tofu coagulant. The easiest one to buy is Epsom salt, though others are gypsum and nigiri, or magnesium chloride.
- Wooden spatula
- Mesh strainer or colander
- Pressing tool. This can be as simple as a large, clean empty glass jar or bottle.
Now, here is how to make tofu at home:
3 cups of dry soy beans
2 tbs. Epsom salt
Water for soaking
12 cups of water
- Put soybeans in a bowl, cover with water and let them soak overnight in the fridge.
- Rinse the beans, and get rid of any bad ones.
- Put them in the blender with enough water to cover. Blend until smooth
- Add the bean mash to the stockpot with 12 cups of water.
- Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring constantly
- Strain out the soy milk into the sauce pot. This is called okara and is good to drink.
- Dissolve the Epsom salt or other coagulant in one and a half cups of warm water
- Heat the soy milk to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Blend the soy milk and Epsom salt, and wait for the curds to separate.
- Add the curds to the mold, and press down with the glass weight. The curds can also be poured into a cheesecloth that lines the colander. Let it firm up from 30 minutes to an hour.
Congratulations, you now have a tasty tofu treat! Tofu is best eaten the day it is made. If it is not eaten right away, it needs to be stored in a covered bowl of cool water, and put in the fridge. Change the water daily.