Guess what? It’s the 4 Velveteers’ Challenge again! This is an exciting month – firstly, we welcome 2 new Velveteers: Ken & Jaya to our club and join us in our challenge. Secondly, we are going to make TOFU from scratch, plain or flavoured, and create a savoury or sweet dish with it. For those of us who live in Asia, tofu is easily found at the local supermarket everywhere, but for those of us who live overseas, tofu is a rare commodity and even if we do find it in a local Asian store, the tofu doesn’t tastes the same as we are used to (sometimes it also tastes funny and smells rather sourish too). So making this challenge is not only interesting for me but a useful recipe to learn. Initially I thought making tofu would be rather difficult but after some research on the Internet, I found it surprisingly easy. Now before we start making tofu, let’s learn something about it.
Tofu or bean curd is a soft and cheese looking food (my father-in-law often referred it as Asian Cheese) made from coagulated soya bean milk. Traditionally, it is made using a curdling agent like nigari, a compound found in natural ocean waters, or calcium sulfate, a naturally occurring mineral. However, you can also make it using lemon juice or vinegar. After that, the curd is pressed into blocks.
According to Wikipedia, tofu originated from China, during the Han dynasty to be precise. Li Shizhen (1518-1593), one of the greatest physicians and pharmacologists in Chinese history, wrote on methods of making tofu in Bencao Gangmu during the Ming dynasty. Tofu and it’s recipe subsequently spread to Korea, Japan, Taiwan and other parts of east Asia.
For this challenge, I opted for lime juice as it is a fruit that is easily available in supermarkets in France. Making tofu at home doesn’t require any fancy apparatus like you see in documentaries on TV. All you need is a piece of muslin cloth or a big handkerchief or some cotton kitchen towel and a container with holes like a sieve or strainer or you can punch some holes all over the sides of a plastic container. That’s all you need – easy enough?
- 300 g soya beans
- 125 ml lime juice (about 4 limes)
- 2100 ml water
- Soak soya beans over night or at least 8 hours.
- Drain the beans and with a blender, blend it with 2100 ml of water in several portions.
- Scoop the blended soya beans paste onto the muslin cloth/cheese cloth. Squeeze out the juice into a pot.
- Cook it for about 10 minutes under medium heat until it is very fragrant. Keep stirring constantly during this whole time. Turn to low and let it cook until it is boiling.
- Take the pot off heat and let it cool down until 40°C – (hotter than lukewarm – your finger can do a quick dip in).
- Pour in the lime juice and give it 2 stir. Leave it undisturbed for 5 minutes or until the mixture sets.
- Prepare the tofu mold/container – basically any container than has small holes to drain out the whey. Line it with muslin cloth with some of cloth hanging out on the sides.
- Scoop the tofu into the container and fold the rest of the cloth in. Put some heavy cans on top of the tofu container to drain out the whey.
- Let it set for 35 – 40 minutes for hard tofu. As for soft/silken tofu, 15 minutes will do the trick and 25 minutes/30 minutes for medium tofu.
- The tofu can be used immediately or store away in a container filled with water in the refrigerator. Please remember to change the water every day.
Homemade tofu is so fragrant and definitely taste better (yes, tofu has taste !). Since I used lime as coagulant agent, the tofu has a slight acidic flavour in it but once you make savoury or sweet dishes with it, you won’t notice it anymore.
Now hop over to my next post to find out what I made with my homemade tofu.
From my experiment, I found out that the more acidity you use, the firmer the tofu. You can also make tofu using store bought soya bean milk (non-sweeten).
The 4 Velveteers
The 4 Velveteers was started by Pamela, Aparna, Asha, and Alessio, who are passionate about a new dish/ style of cooking/ cuisine and food in general. Each month, we will share with you our recipes, experiences & verdicts on our blogs. If you are interested in joining The 4 Velveteers! in our monthly adventure, please feel free to drop by our food blogs and leave a comment.
Do, check out what other Velveteers have created:
Alessio – Recipe Taster with his Tofu mousse with sesame seeds & matcha green tea
Aparna – My Diverse Kitchen with her Tropical Home-made Tofu Smoothie
Asha – Fork, Spoon & Knife with her Mapo Tofu
Ken – Hungry Rabbit with his To fu or not tofu
Jaya – Desi Soccer Mom