A staple in Asian and vegetarian cuisine, tofu is a sort of cheese made of soy milk, which is compressed, and then cut into cubes which can be grilled, fried, steamed, or cooked with other ingredients. A great substitute for meat or cheese, tofu features prominently in almost every vegan and vegetarian diet.
Soy milk – 5 cups
Tofu press or mould
Epson salt – 2 teaspoons
Lemon juice – 4 tablespoons
Nigari – 2 ¼ teaspoons
To begin, heat the soy milk by pouring all 5 cups into the stockpot, and placing this on the stove over medium heat.
Allow the soy milk to come up to a boil, and when it does, let it boil for a good 5 to 6 minutes.
Then, turn the heat off.
Next, it is time to separate the curds from the whey.
Prepare a coagulant (by mixing 2 teaspoons Epsom salt, and 4 tablespoons lemon juice or 2¼ teaspoons nigari), and then dilute this by mixing it with a cup of water.
Pour this mixture into the hot soy milk, stirring slowly all the while, and let it sit for around 20 minutes (off the heat).
Once 20 minutes have elapsed, check the mixture, and if the soy milk still hasn’t separated, mix up another cup of the water and coagulant, and pour it into the pot.
Once you detect the watery whey and the substantial curds beginning to separate, you will know the mixture is ready.
Now, place cheesecloth over a strainer, and pour the separated soy milk mixture into this – the whey will drain out, and the curds will remain.
Gather all four corners of the cheesecloth, bring them together, and use a twisting motion to wring any remaining liquid out of the soy curds.
Next, line your wooden tofu mould with some cheesecloth, pour the soy curds into this, and then cover them with more cheesecloth on top.
You will now need to apply some pressure on the soy curds, to press them into the mould and squeeze out any remaining liquid (the mould will have holes at the bottom for draining purposes), so pile a couple of heavy books onto this – however, make sure you cover the books with a plastic bag, otherwise they will get damp.
Allow the curds to sit in the mould under the weight for around half an hour.
Once the time has elapsed, remove the books.
The curds should now be transformed into tofu – a semi-solid block of a white, cheese-like substance. Rinse it under cold water, and use as desired.