Saturday, April 9, 2016

Keepin' It Homemade

No sewing or quilting post today; I'll have one of those tomorrow.

I spent a lot of my morning in the kitchen today. Mostly cleaning up the mess, but also doing some cooking. I've always been a fan of making food at home rather than relying on pre-made meals, but I'm stepping up my game lately. Today I decided I'd give a go at making homemade tofu.

Though I'm vegetarian, I eat quite a bit of vegan food and Miyoko Schinner's fabulous book, The Homemade Vegan Pantry, has proven itself to be quite handy in my kitchen lately.

It was through this book that I started making my own yogurt which tastes so much better than store-bought. I've heard that for quite some time, but was very pleased with the results once I did it for myself!

The hands-on time for making tofu is pretty minimal, though the process itself takes a bit of time. I decided to also make my own soy milk this time...just to lengthen the process even more?

The process starts with boiling some dried soybeans (purchased from one of my favorite places in the Twin Cities, United Noodles) and letting them soak for a while.

From there, the beans are blended in a mixer for a few seconds until it's a thick consistency but not completely blended.

Once that's done, you strain the pulp. I used three layers of cheesecloth over a fine mesh sieve, and squeezed as much of the soy milk out as possible. The remaining flaky pulp is called okara and can be used in lots of different ways. I've not tried it yet, but there are plenty of suggestions in the book.

What remains is the fresh soy milk. I'm not the biggest fan of soymilk and I don't drink dairy milk anymore, but like the homemade yogurt this tastes quite a bit different than its store-bought counterpart. Better, I think. Now that I've got the soy milk, I can make the tofu.

You really only need two things to make tofu - the soy milk and a coagulant. I used nigari (magnesium chloride). You can use anything really for the tofu mold, but I used a bamboo mold I purchased on Amazon. It came with the nigari pictured in the photo above, but I used the liquid nigari I purchased from United Noodles.

After bringing the soy milk to a simmer and adding the nigari to the mixture, it quickly turns the milk into curds. It's the same as making fresh homemade cheese if you've ever done that. Within a few minutes, you've got tofu! You can strain it to your preference depending on if you want silken tofu or extra firm (in which case you'd use a bit more nigari when curdling the milk and then press it for longer).

Once the mold is in the sink (make sure that baby is empty and clean!) and lined with the cloth, I poured in the curds and let the whey separate.

I like a firm tofu most of the time, so I folded over the cloth, put the wooden insert into the mold and weighed it down with a heavy can to press out more of the liquid. Shout out to the jackfruit for doing the heavy work!

After 30 minutes or so, I had a block of tofu. Isn't it the most gorgeous thing you've ever seen?! Actually, it's not. At all. It's a pretty average first try, but I didn't want to make a full block of it the first go-around, so I made a pretty small recipe. It tastes delicious! It's more delicate in taste than store-bought and is so much fresher. I'm sure I'll be making this again.

I was in my sewing room all last night, and I'll be back with an update on that tomorrow!

1 comment: