FRESH TOFU USING LIQUID NIGARI (two-part recipe)
Making your own delicious fresh tofu is easy to do but does require some time and equipment. The best results start with fresh soy milk made from scratch (recipe below). Your reward is tofu that is incredibly tasty and beautifully textured. We suggest planning your cooking to accommodate soaking the beans overnight, and the length of time for pressing the tofu into your desired firmness. You can purchase our all natural Liquid Nigari in our online shop or on Amazon.com in the USA.
FRESH SOY MILK (Part 1 of the two-part Tofu Recipe)
- Colander or fine mesh strainer
- Heavy bottom pot such as cast iron Dutch oven
- Cheese Cloth
- 170 g/6oz raw dried soy beans
- 8 cups cold filtered water
- Soak the raw (not roasted) dried soy beans in 8 cups cold filtered water overnight or until they split apart easily and look smooth on the inside.
- Strain the beans, reserving the soaking liquid and puree in a blender with 2 cups of the reserved liquid.
- Heat 5 cups of the reserved liquid in a heavy bottom pot (to avoid burning) until just about boiling, around 85C/185F, then turn down to medium heat.
- Add the puree to the pot of water. With the remaining reserved water rinse out the blender and add to the pot. Simmer on low for 5-10 min. Soy milk will foam while being heated; stir to prevent from burning.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 10min before straining.
- Set up a strainer lined with cheese cloth over a pot and carefully strain the mixture. Tie up the ends of the cheese cloth and twist into a tight ball to extract the remaining soy milk from the curd. You can add another 1/2 cup water to the soy bean lees to extract more soy milk (second press).
- Yield should be 7.5 -8 cups plus 150-170g/5-6oz okari (soybean pulp).
- Soy milk is thick compared to nut milks and will take longer to strain through a cloth bag/sieve.
- Fresh soy milk heated to an almost boil is required to make firm (block) tofu so we recommend proceeding with making the tofu recipe immediately after making the soy milk.
- To make silken tofu, you will need to cool down/almost chill the soy milk before adding the nigari, and then pouring the mixture straight into molds that will go directly in a steamer (no pressing involved).
- Fresh soy milk will keep 3-5 days in the fridge (to drink).
fresh tofu using liquid nigari (part 2)
Now that you have fresh soy milk, you can make your tofu. Prepare your tofu mold lined with cloth, and set it on a tray to catch the liquid that will drain off . Check the temperature of your soy milk before starting; it should be around 76C/170F, just above a simmer on a medium-medium high heat. Get your Vancouver Island Sea Salt Nigari ready and you’re all set.
FRESH TOFU using liquid Nigari (part 2)
- Heavy bottom pot with lid
- Tofu mold with muslin cloth
- Wooden spatula
- Fine mesh strainer, optional
- Tray or roasting pan (to hold tofu mold), optional
- 8 cups fresh soy milk from part 1
- 2 tsp Vancouver Island Sea Salt nigari
- Heat 8 cups of the fresh soy milk (as above) in a heavy bottom pot on medium high until just scalding, around 76C/170F.
- Stirring in a figure 8 motion add 1 tsp of Nigari and continue to stir for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and cover with a lid. Allow to sit for 5 min.
- Remove the lid, add the last tsp of Nigari while stirring in a figure 8 motion. Cover and let sit for 10min.
- Line the tofu mold with muslin cloth adding a touch of water to allow the cloth to stick to the sides of the mold and place inside a baking dish to allow whey to drain out.
- Carefully ladle curd into mold a little bit at a time allowing whey to drain out before adding more.
- After all curd has been placed in the mold, gently tap the mold to even the curd out and dispel air bubbles. Gently fold over the sides of the muslin cloth until the tofu is fully covered.
- Place mold cover on top and add a small weight, like an aluminum can, this will help to drain excess whey.
- The longer the tofu sits in the mold the firmer it will be. Allow at least 12 hours for a medium tofu and 1-2 days for firm to extra firm. Following this recipe, our yield was 340g, roughly 12 oz of very firm tofu.
- We used an additional piece of equipment – an ultra fine mesh strainer, to drain the whey before transferring the tofu curds into the cloth-lined mold. We collected 4 3/4 cup of whey (we like to use whey in energy shakes and soups).
- If there is still milky liquid after adding the second tsp of nigari, try adding 1/2 to 1 tsp of nigari. Turn the heat back on low for 2-3 minutes to reheat. Stir the mix in a figure 8 pattern very gently and turn the heat off. Cover and leave for another 3-5 minutes.
- Our test kitchen also tried using fresh soy milk made using a Vitamix recipe, which steams the soaked soy beans before blending, without any cooking. Using this type of fresh soy milk did not coagulate with the addition of liquid nigari, nor do using commercial soy milk (those that come in tetra pack).