Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Homemade Tofu

Tofu is so popular in the US now, but unfortunately, the kinds of tofu most American people know are not the real premium kinds which we (Japanese people) are familiar with.

The real tofu is made only with the natural soy milk (made only from soy beans and water), and nigari. Nigari is derived from the sea water, and it's extracted during the making of the sea salt.

Nigari (literally means, "bitterness") is used to coagulate the tofu. Nigari is also praised for its health benefits, so I carry a little bottle of nigari (liquid form) with me and add a few drops when I drink water, tea, etc (too much is harmful to your body). Nigari is supposed to help your metabolism and also keep your skin healthy. So I love it! You can find liquid nigari at some Japanese grocery stores here in Los Angeles.

Back to tofu. It's hard to find the real tofu sold in the US. Meiji Tofu (introduced in my previous posting) in Gardena makes the authentic kind.
If you have access to the pure "straight" soy milk, it's very easy to make tofu at home. Here's how I make it.

Zaru Tofu (free-shape tofu)
1.2 litter pure soy milk
2 tbsps nigari liquid

In a large ceramic bowl (heat-resistent), combine the soy milk and nigari and mix well.
Place the bowl in a steamer and steam at medium-heat for about 30 minutes or until the center part is jiggly when the bowl is lightly shaken. Cool down for 15 minutes or so.

Scoop the tofu over a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Drai the excess water until your desired softness.
Serve with your choice of condiments, such as sashimi soy sauce with wasabi, yuzu-kosho, ponzu with grated daikon, etc.