I haven't cooked a while since I was away. Now my culinary endeavors have to go an extra mile for something that takes long. So I went to Sunrise Mart to search for something that takes long to make. Recently, I've been seeing "nigari" (boiled sea water or Magnesium chloride) at stores, which makes tofu when added to soy milk. So I bought a pack of it, plus a bag of soy beans (dry).
Tofu making doesn't require much. The most important thing is patience, and soy and nigari. That's it.
1. Wash soy beans, then soak them in 6 (Japanese) cups of water for 10-20 hours, until it triples in size.
It does get very plump once you soak them in water long enough.
This is a package of Nigari. It taste like very boiled down salt water.
2. Put same amount of soy and water in blender and blend it for like 3 minutes until there are no more particles of soy to be seen. Then boil them and once it boils reduce the heat and cook it for another 8-10 minutes. First it smells like raw beans, but once it cooks, it changes to tofu-ish smell, that's when you should stop cooking.
3. Then this is the most annoying process of all. Place a piece of cloth (cotton preferred) on top of a colander, then pour the liquid above into it, then squeeze the liquid out. Liquid is soy milk, the the the rest (below) is called "okara" (or soy pulp). Okara could be turned into a wonderful side dish, cooked with vegetables with soy flavor.
4. Put soy milk back into pan. Meanwhile mix 20cc ish Nigari with 80cc of water, put it aside. This time, you have to be careful. You heat the soy milk to 75c. Once it hits the temperature, turn the heat off, then pour nigari mixture, and turn it like twice, no more, no less. I heard if you mix too much, it makes tough tofu. No one wants tough tofu.
5. Can you see its coagulated? It's very weird. Once you pour the nigari mixture, it immediately start coagulating. It almost look like a failed batter. Put a piece of cloth again on colander and pour the mixture into it, then put a little bit of weight to squeeze out the excess water. After 30 minutes of so, walah, tofu is done.
This was a good experience. Since I only had a navy colored cloth, there are some spots where the fabric bled on tofu, and yeah, I have to use white cloth for next trial. In Japan, one can buy soy milk that is unflavored, which will make tofu making very easy, but here all the soy milk has weird vanilla or chocolate flavors, and it will make weird tofu.
Tofu making is definitely interesting. I wonder if I could use different kind of beans and make tofu? Does Nigari only react with soy? Should I try using kidney beans, or something completely weird? Since we don't work Fridays during summer month, maybe I will try red or black bean tofu. I will report.