homemade tofu
Recipe type: appetizer
  • 1⅓ cups (8 ounces) dried soybeans (I used tsurunoko daizu)
  • filtered water (I actually used distilled water)
  • muslin or thick cheesecloth
  • nigari flakes (sea salts, magnesium chloride) - order at www.myworldhut.com
  1. Special equipment: 16 quart pot
  2. In a large bowl, cover soybeans with 3 inches of cold water (you don't need the filtered water here). Cover and allow to sit overnight.
  3. Drain the soybeans and transfer to a blender. Add 3 cups of filtered (or distilled) water and puree at high speed until as smooth as possible.
  4. Line a large sieve with clean cotton napkin or 3 layers of cheesecloth and set sieve over a heatproof bowl. In a large pot (at least 3 quarts, or bigger), boil 3 cups of filtered water. Add the soybean puree and boil over moderately high heat for 8 minutes, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula to prevent sticking and scorching.*
  5. Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared sieve. Let stand until just cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth and squeeze to extract as much of the soy milk as possible; the remaining solids should be nearly dry. Discard the solids and skim off any foam from the soy milk. You should have about 4 cups of soy milk. Stop here if you just want soy milk.
  6. In a small measuring cup, dissolve 1 teaspoon nigari flakes in ¼ cup filtered water (this is what the original recipe said to do, not what I did). Spoon 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of the nigari solution into a large heatproof glass bowl. (I just measured this amount from my pre-mixed nigari solution.)
  7. In a large saucepan (I washed and used the same pot from above), heat 4 cups of soy milk to 185 degrees F (I used an instant read thermometer and medium heat). Pour the hot soy milk into the bowl with the nigari solution and quickly stir but only to combine thoroughly (it's easy to accidentally scramble the rapidly coagulating tofu). Cover and let stand undisturbed until fully set, 5 minutes. Discard the remaining nigari solution. Stop here if you want silken tofu.
  8. Set a cheesecloth-lined sieve, colander or other mold (i.e., plastic berry baskets) with drainage over a bowl (see my photos), and spoon freshly made silken tofu into it. Neatly fold the overhanging cheesecloth over the tofu and top with a small plate or other light weight to gently press out excess water. Let tofu drain for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours (I did mine for 3 hours, because of my wonky weights), depending on the desired firmness. Unwrap and serve.
  9. Firm tofu can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, covered in water. Serve with black radish slices and soy sauce, or a miso glaze. I served with soy sauce, ginger, and cilantro.
* Don't use anything smaller than a 3-quart pot, as the contents can easily boil over as it foams up. This happened to me and I ended up with hot soybean puree all over the stove and under the elements. It was a mess to clean up. Boiling over moderately LOW heat worked better for me and I had more control over the foaming boil.
Recipe by story of a kitchen at https://www.storyofakitchen.com/appetizers/homemade-tofu/