FRESH TOFU using liquid Nigari (two-part recipe)

To make delicious fresh tofu, you will need fresh soy milk made from scratch (recipe below) and then proceed to make the tofu as outlined in the recipe. It really is fairly easy to do, but does require time and a few equipment. Your reward is tofu that is incredibly tasty and versatile. Please note that our liquid nigari works best with freshly made soy milk so we suggest planning your cooking to accommodate soaking the beans overnight, and the length of time for pressing the tofu into your desired firmness.

This recipe is developed by Chef Trystan Petrash (Ontario, Canada).

FOR THE SOY MILK, you will need:

  • 170g/6oz raw dried soy beans
  • 8 cups cold filtered water
  • Cheese cloth
  • Colander or fine mesh strainer
  • Heavy bottom pot such as cast iron Dutch oven
  • Blender


  • 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 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.

Yield should be 7.5 -8 cups plus 150-170g/5-6oz okari (soybean pulp). Will keep 2-3 days in the fridge (to drink) but we recommend proceeding with the tofu making immediately after making the soy milk.

FOR THE TOFU, you will need:

  • 8 cups of fresh soy milk (recipe as above)
  • 2 tsp Vancouver Island Sea Salt Nigari
  • Heavy bottom pot
  • Tofu mold with muslin cloth


  • Heat 8 cups of the fresh soy milk (as above) in a heavy bottom pot on medium high until just scalding, around 70C/158F.
  • 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 lid, add 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 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 lid 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.

Additional Notes: 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).

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).

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