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)
This recipe is developed by Chef Trystan Petrash (Ontario, Canada)
Colander or fine mesh strainer
Heavy bottom pot such as cast iron Dutch oven
- 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)
This recipe was developed by Chef Trystan Petrash (Ontario, Canada)
Heavy bottom pot with lid
Tofu mold with muslin cloth
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).
Thanks for this recipe. I have a few questions. You say, “…then turn down to medium heat.” then after a couple of quick steps, “Simmer on low for 5 min”. So is it supposed to be turned down to medium then immediately to low? Or is that a typo?
I am also curious about what to do with it after. I am not ready to use it right away. Some suggest rincing/ soaking/ storing in water. What do you suggest?
As soon as the reach 85C/185F (just below boiling), you’ll need to turn down the heat to medium just to maintain that temperature and not bring up the soaking liquid to a boil. Follow the next step – add the pureed soybeans plus the reserved liquid used to rinse out the blender, and then that’s when you bring it down to a low simmer. Lowering the temperature will inhibit the foaming action that will happen at a roiling boil (causing alarming-looking but harmless spills) and prevent scorching while ensuring the soy milk is gently cooked through.
If you don’t plan to use the tofu right away, storing it submerged in water in the refrigerator is the way to go. You can change the water daily to keep it fresh for up to a week.
Let us know how it goes! #saltlove!
So much better than store bought. Worth the effort IMO
How long should I press the tofu for if I want to make SILKEN tofu?
To make silken tofu, you will need to steam the soy milk with the nigari in covered bowls (to avoid beading/bubbles on the surface) for about 10 minutes or until set. We use room temperature or chilled soy milk and gently stir in the nigari, working pretty quickly as the curds will form right away. No pressing needed.
Can you please share how to make silken tofu using liquid nigari. I been struggling for months now trying everything to get silken nice tofu.
Btw I do it from scratch too. But never get silken. Haven’t try to steam it. Please share the measurements too and procedures.
Hi Rach – see our reply below. Don’t forget to protect your tofu from water dripping into it by either covering your mold, or wrapping your steamer lid with a cloth. We’ve made silken tofu using ramekins, small loaf pans and cake pans, and have placed those directly into a wide saucepan with enough water to cover halfway up the height of the molds (no need for a trivet). Very similar to the bain marie technique (water bath) in baking. Wrapping the lid with a tea towel works great in absorbing condensation. We’ve enjoyed silken tofu eaten warm and cold, with a sugar syrup and boba pearls, and also added to soup – delicious! Let us know how this works for you!
Alternative to tofu press?
Hi! The tofu press is just essentially a container with drain holes so you could feasibly use a colander, with the tofu curds wrapped in muslin or cheesecloth, and then putting a plate to fit the colander inside diameter, then placing tins or other heavy objects to press the whey out of the tofu curds. The result will be tofu shaped like your colander, but the taste and texture should be the same. If you’re planning to crumble the tofu for a recipe, this is a good DIY alternative.
Hi I’m trying to make silken tofu. I tried gypsum but I could make it, now I’m trying liquid nigari but still couldn’t do it.
Can you please help me how to make silken tofu with procedure and measurements. Thank you
We make silken tofu by steaming. When your steamer is ready (soon as the water boils, lower the heat to just maintain a steady simmer ), add your fresh soymilk into a mold (we use 1 liter or 4 cups of chilled soy milk), add 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of nigari, stir very gently to incorporate, then place the mold into the steamer. You can wrap your mold with tin foil or wrap your steamer lid with a tea towel to avoid moisture dripping down your tofu. Steam for 6 minutes per inch of soy milk depth, or longer depending on the size and thickness of your mold, until a toothpick test leaves a visible hole in the tofu. One tip is to use room temperature or slightly chilled soymilk; this prevents the soymilk from separating into curds and whey. Good luck!
I’m so glad I found your products!
I made “Oboro-Tofu” using your nigari, and it set perfectly. The tofu was so silky. I ate with good olive oil and flaked sea salt.
Thank you so much for your feedback, Yoko! We’re so happy to hear you had great success making Oboro-tofu. We will have to try our next batch with olive oil and flake sea salt too. Sounds delicious!
I bought your nigari and I am getting ready to nake tofu for the first time. I have been looking at quite a fre recipe. One in peticular onky press the tofu for 15, 20 or 30 minutes and her tofu is really firm. She uses 5 % vinaigar diluted in 1/2 cup of water to make it, then unmold ut and out it in cold water for a few minutesthen it’s ready. My question, why does it take so long 12 hours in your recipe? Is it because she is using vinaigar? Thank you, I am just trying to understand the process better.
(note: original response was sent via email on the date of the post)
The recipe we have on our blog was developed by Chef Trystan Petrash and that’s how long it took him to get his desired texture. However, the amount of time for pressing the tofu depends on the size of the curds, the tofu texture you want and the size and shape of your mold. We have pressed our tofu for 20-30 minutes using a 3″ deep wooden mold (that’s approximately 4″ x 5″ size opening), and using two canned tomatoes as weights. I suggest checking the tofu after 30 minutes, pressing on it manually to see if there’s still liquid that comes out, and if it’s reached the texture/firmness you want. If it hasn’t, then just leave it to drain for a longer time. Don’t worry, pressing the tofu for several hours is not going to harm it.
Vinegar and other acids are usually used to coagulate paneer, the Indian fresh cheese. It will give a tart taste to your tofu.
Hope this helps, and thank you for purchasing our nigari. Good luck with your first tofu – homemade tofu is really delicious!