Tofu, also known as bean curd or soybean curd, is a creamy, low-fat, soy-based product that is high in protein, calcium and iron. You will find it at select grocery stores in vacuum-packed containers. These are usually highly-priced. For a cheaper option, try your local chinese supermarket, as they usually stock it freshly made.
Outside of the city, it can be hard to find tofu and so today Sandra is going to show us how to make our very own tofu! Sandra is a mother of two precious, busy boys and enjoys making creative, plant-based meals. She has found homemade tofu to be amazingly delicious and a real blessing. We hope it will inspire and help you too!
You will need:
- 2 1/2 cups dried soya beans (soaked overnight)
- a large pot
- a blender
- a cotton cheese cloth, or netting, or a cotton cloth
- a nut bag (used to make nut milk) or a pillow case 🙂
- juice of half a lemon
- a measuring cup
- kettle full of boiled water
- a bowl
- a colander or large sieve or a Tupperware with little holes made into it
Tofu is prepared by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into solid white blocks of varying softness. At the grocery store, tofu will often be labeled as silken, soft, firm or extra firm. The process of making tofu is very easy, but one does need some time, and strong hands 🙂
How to Make Tofu
Start by rinsing and draining the soaked soya beans.
Using your measuring cup, measure out 1 cup of beans into your blender. Add 2 cups of tap water and 2 cups of hot water from your kettle. (You can use all hot water if you like, as long as your blender can handle the heat). So your ratio is 1 : 4. One part beans to four parts water. Blend this well.
Then prepare your nut bag or pillow case and pour the blended beans into the bag over the large pot. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze till no more soya milk comes out.
Place your pot on the stove and start heating up your soya milk, keeping an eye on it and stirring it every so often.
Empty your nut bag out into the bowl. This dry fibrous mix of soya bean skin leftovers is called Okara and it is still very nutritious. It can be kept in the freezer and used in bread, granola or patties. You can also bake the Okara in a flat pan on a low heat and add it to porridge for extra nutrition.
Repeat this whole process, measuring 1:4 beans and water again, blending it up and squeezing it out into the pot until all the beans have been used up.
Now you will have a large pot full of soya milk. Bring this to a boil and simmer it for 20 – 40 minutes. Be careful – your pot could boil over – so stir frequently and keep an eye on the froth!
Lastly, the fun part, which the kids will love watching and helping with. It is just like a science experiment!
Turn the heat off your pot and allow the soya milk to cool while you prepare the lemon juice. Add your lemon juice to the soya milk and watch it curdle!
Prepare your container with cheese cloth lined in it. Gently spoon or pour your tofu curdle into your prepared container, stirring it very carefully. Allow most of the water to drain away. You can even place a bowl with water on top of the tofu curdle to press out the remaining water.
Allow it to set for 10 – 20 minutes.
Once the tofu has set together, gently take it out of the cheesecloth and place it in a water-filled container.
Store your tofu in the fridge. Rinse it at least every 2nd day or so, and it will keep well. You can also freeze your tofu. Freezing it will change the texture of your tofu, making it more spongy. Tofu has no flavour of it’s own and absorbs flavours through sauces, marinades or spices.
How can I use my Tofu?
Tofu makes a delicious ”scrambled eggs” substitute. Try marinating it in a tasty sauce for a lovely sandwich filling! For a delicious spinach and tofu quiche, cook up some spinach, make a white sauce, mix it all together with cut up pieces of tofu and place this filling into a baked pie crust. Tofu can even be used in sweet desserts like tofu “cheesecake.”
Have you ever made tofu before? Share with us in the comments below your favourite tofu-based meals and recipes!