I’ve discovered making homemade tofu is a labor of love. Tofu is another staple food of Korean cuisine and also in many other Asian cuisines. Tofu is loaded with protein, around 10g per 1/2 cup serving and it’s mild flavor makes it a perfect item to add to any dish. My favorite way to eat it is in a soup Dubu Gigae ( Tofu Soup) and marinated in a tamari sauce.
There is a vast difference in taste between store bought tofu and homemade tofu. I find the homemade tofu to be smoother and of course much fresher in taste. I’ve watched my mother make tofu a few times, but I did not help out so I had to look at a few recipes on the internet to figure out how to make it. Once you have made the soy milk, turning soy milk into curds to be pressed into tofu is quite easy.
Here are a few essential equipment and ingredients you will need:
Good blender, tofu mold ( you can make tofu without this), cheese cloth (or a very clean sheet cut into a 2 foot square), large bowls, heavy cooking pot, object that weighs 5 lbs, and a stainless steel colander.
2 cups of Organic soy beans, 2 to 4 tsp of coagulant: nigari – magnesium chloride ( gypsum ~calcium sulfate or epsom salt may be used), 11 cups of filtered water ( you can decrease the ingredients in half).
Making Soy Milk
I used 2 cups of ORGANIC soy beans. Rinse them well. Soak them overnight in 4 cups of filtered water. They will plump up and double in size.
Place about 2 cups of the soaked soy beans and water into your blender and puree. Repeat this process until all the beans have been pureed. You will need to use up to an additional 7 – 8 cups of water.
Place cheese cloth over colander and place the colander over a large bowl. Pour the liquid soybean puree into the cheese cloth and squeeze out the liquid. After all the liquid has been squeezed out of the soybean puree, you will have soy milk in your bowl and okara in your cheese cloth. Save the okara to use later in other recipes. You can freeze the okara if you don’t plan on using right away.
Now that you have made soy milk, we can make our Tofu.
Pour your soy milk ( I used 10 cups) into a large pot and bring it to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes so the temperature reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to skim the foam off the top a couple a times and stir frequently to prevent burning.
While your soy milk is simmering, prepare coagulant. I dissolved 2 tsp of Nigari in 1 C of very hot water. Using less coagulant makes softer tofu and using more makes firmer tofu. I used half of the soy milk I made~ about 10 cups to make a batch of tofu. Pour the coagulant mixture into the pot and stir gently a couple of times. Let it simmer a few minutes. Soy milk will turn into curds and liquid should become clear.
Soy milk with 2 tsp of Nigari mixed in 1 c water, a few curds formed.
Soy milk with additional 2 tsp of Nigari mixed in 1 C hot water. More curds have been formed.
I had to add an additional mixture of 2tsp of Nigari in 1 C of hot water to turn all the creamy colored liquid into curds. You should now have curds and clear liquid. Turn off the heat and keep mixture on the stove to keep it warm.
Top left photo: in a clean your sink, place your tofu mold box in the sink and cover with a clean cheese cloth. Top right photo: Pour soy milk curds into the cheese cloth lined colander. Bottom right photo: fill to brim. Clear liquid will run down the sink drain. Bottom left photo: bring corners of the cheese cloth together, lift out of colander, and place in tofu mold.
Top two photo’s: drape the cheese cloth over the curds. Bottom right photo: place lid on tofu mold. Bottom left photo: place an object weighing about 5lbs ( I used my stone mortar) to press the water out of the curds for about 30 min. If you want a very firm and dry tofu, use a heavier weight for a longer time.
Here is the finished product! I made 1.5 lbs of tofu from 10 cups of soy milk I made. It was firm and delicious! We enjoyed eating it in Dubu Gigae.
After making homemade soy milk, I’m investing in a soy milk maker. I found this process to be the most time consuming. If I had boiled the soybeans after they were soaked and then extracted soy milk from the soybeans, it may have been sped up the process. Next time I will use gypsum as my coagulant to add more calcium to my tofu.
Here are the links that I found helpful:
Nutrition in Tofu: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4393/2
This link will show you how to mold the soy milk curds with out a tofu mold:
With the okara, I made a version of savory Mung Bean Pancakes~ Bindaetteak using , rice flour,
egg and kimchi. Instead of using mung beans, I replaced it with okara and it turned out quite well.