Home-made Tofu in Minutes!
Home-made Tofu can literally be made in minutes, and of course works out much cheaper than buying it from the shops. By learning how to make tofu at home you can always have it available rather than having to remember to go to a specialist store to buy it. Best of all you can flavor home-made tofu however you like, so you can come up with some really tasty and unique recipes. While tofu is really popular with vegetarians, vegans and those living without dairy products, it is an exciting and tasty addition to any meal and can be enjoyed by everyone. Read on to discover exactly what it is, and just how easy it is to make this traditional Chinese food in your own home!
What Exactly is Tofu?
Tofu is one of those foods that people are often really not sure about! Well tofu is actually bean curd made from coagulated soya milk. A special salt called Nigari is used to curdle the milk and then the curds are separated, put in a mold and pressed so produce a soft white block. Tofu originates in China over 2000 years ago and one really does wonder just how on earth they invented it! Over the years the use of tofu spread to Korea and Japan. In the natural form tofu has practically no taste, but it acts like a sponge and can absorb either sweet or savory flavors. Due to this it is a great ingredient to have available in the kitchen since you can incorporate it into so many different recipes. If you have tried raw tofu and thought that it was boring then just try marinating it in your favorite sauce or spice… it will literally soak up the flavor!
Tofu and Nutrition:
For those of you who prefer to eat dairy free food then the really good thing about Tofu is that is contains around 42% calcium, so there is no need to worry about the health of your bones! Other plus points include:
- High Iron Content – 19%
- High Protein Content
- Low in calories – Only 128 calories per serving (1/4 of a block or around 122g)
Tofu has traditionally been eaten by vegetarians to help ensure a healthy protein and calcium intake, but of course you don’t need to be a vegetarian, or even a Buddhist, to enjoy it!
How to Make Tofu
Home-made Tofu is derived from Soy or Soya milk, so the first thing that you need to do is get some of that. These days you can easily find it in the health food section of your regular store… but it will cost a pretty penny, probably over a Dollar, a Euro or a Pound for a carton. You can make your own for just a few cents from soya beans. You will also need the Nigari salt, a mold of some sort, cheesecloth and some weights. You can buy special molds or just make one out of an old margarine or Tupaware tub.
Read how to do this by hand here: Make Soya Milk
Read how to do this using a cost effective machine here: Home-made Soy Milk
|To make Tofu you need to start off with a carton of Soya milk. Regular unsweetened soy milk without any extra additives is best. A one liter or two pint carton with make a decent sized block.|
|In order to curdle or coagulate the soya milk you need to add a special salt. The best kind to use is called “Nigari” and can be bought for just over a dollar or a Euro in most Health stores. If you can’t find that then Epsom salts or vinegar both do the trick. Dissolve 6g, or about a flat T spoon full, in a little hot water. Stir it around until it has all dissolved and if some is left at the bottom add more water.|
|Add the water and Nigari mixture to to the jug of milk while stirring all the time. Do it slowly, a little at a time. After a minute or two you will notice that the mixture has turned very granular. The milk has curdled!|
|Next, line the mold with cheesecloth and slowly pour in the curdled milk. You need a mold about 4 inches long, 3 inches wide and 3 inches high to accommodate one liter. Of you pour the milk in too quickly then it will overflow so be be careful.|
|You may need to pat the curd down with a spoon to make space for the final dregs of milk. Once all the bean curd is in the mold then carefully fold the cheesecloth over the top. You need to fold it neatly so that the block of tofu is neat and without folds after pressing.|
|Finally add some weights to the top to press the tofu. You can put the lid on and press by hand to start with in order to speed up the process and expel as much liquid as you can. After that just leave it with the weights on top for around an hour. The longer you leave it the firmer the tofu will be.|
|After an hour remove the weights and carefully unwrap the block of tofu. As you can see, one liter of milk makes about 168g of tofu. In order to keep it fresh just put it into a plastic container with a little water in the bottom and store in the fridge. Change the water daily if you are keeping it for any length of time. It will only take around 5 minutes of your time to make a block of home-made tofu like this.|
What Equipment to use:
If you are just experimenting with home-made tofu then you can probably find everything that you need around the house for the first batch. For example use an old Tupperware container with holes punched in for the mold and a cotton hanky for the cheesecloth. However, if you are going to make it on a regular basis then it will save you a lot of time if you invest in the right equipment. Just as with making soya milk the pay-back is very fast since the actual ingredients (soya beans) are very cheap compared to the value of the finished product that you buy in the shops.
You can buy soya milk, but in the pay-back is very fast if you buy a decent machine and use it regularly. Making the milk by hand is easy but takes time…
Some decent bottles with lids are always a good investment so that you can store your soy milk properly in the refrigerator…
Making Tofu with a proper mold is much easier…
Bulk buying the soya beans makes sense. You will need 100g to make 1 liter of soy milk…
Nigari salt makes the best tofu, but you can also use Epsom salts or vinegar….
So take a Frugal Tip from the MeanyGoat: If you like tofu and eat it on a regular basis then it will only take a few minutes of your time. Home-made tofu only contains what YOU put in it so you know that it will not have any nasty additives or preservatives. Costing only around 25 cents a block home-made tofu is a steal!
Here are some great recipe ideas: